Simon Stanford, MD, Samsung Telecommunications and Networks
2011 has brought huge advancements in mobile technology with massive growth in smartphone ownership and competition between rival OSes continuing. And next year promises even further progress. It will be the year that we start to really see traction in the tablet market now that consumer understanding of the benefits of the device is at a much higher level.
Smartphone growth will continue and at pace, but not just at the premium end of the market. We’ll start to see the smartphone experience extend right down to prepay devices, and the successful manufacturers will be those that have a range of devices making smartphone ownership available to a wider audience.
Manufacturers will also be under pressure from consumers to offer devices that allow them to do things quickly and easily – whether that be downloading a new movie or game, or browsing the web. With wider broadband availability and faster processors, the next 12 months will prove critical in terms of content delivery and customer experience.
We’re also looking forward to seeing where the mobile market will go, in light of the development of the LTE space and the increasing traction of NFC technology. We expect the digital wallet to start gaining significant momentum in 2012, particularly in the run up to the Olympics.
Scott Hooton, trading director, Phones 4u
2012 will see consumers continuing to hunt for the best value, but it will see them do so with pride. Emerging trends already show that getting good deals when shopping is becoming a status symbol, so mobile retailers will need to be more competitive than ever on price.
Value has become even more important due to the economic situation, but in 2012 value will no longer be just about price. As consumers more tightly manage their disposable income, their expectations from purchases and services will increase. On top of needing to remain competitive on price, retailers will need to exceed on the level of customer service they deliver. To be listened to and understood will be what mobile consumers will expect as a minimum. There will also be a higher demand for interactivity and demonstration of technology before a consumer is willing to commit.
With Ofcom reporting that smartphone penetration is at 27%, there will be plenty of room for growth in 2012. An affordable range of high quality prepay smartphones will continue to expand, and as the smartphone evolution continues, consumer desire to own the latest technology more frequently will increase. To date, there has been a disconnect between the frequency of smartphone releases and the length of contracts people are being asked to sign up for. Flexibility will become key in 2012 and services that offer people the chance to get their hands on the latest technology quicker will come to the fore.
High smartphone penetration will continue to result in higher demands for data. As smartphones innovate and become more and more intelligent and gaming and video become more widely used, people will consume more data on their smartphones than ever before. The industry will need to invest more significantly in network infrastructure in order to keep up with the increasing demand, but the operating systems will also need to ensure the delivery of fast, smooth platforms that are optimised for multimedia content.
As smartphones will continue to make up a larger segment of the prepay market in 2012, putting more and more high-end devices into the hands of younger consumers, the importance of internet security will increase. The entire industry will need to take a more proactive and responsible approach to educating consumers on the steps that can be taken to ensure that children only view appropriate content on smartphones.
As a cashless world is now upon us, this will impact on the way mobile consumers want to shop in 2012. Our industry will need to work harder to understand and maximize on the opportunities that NFC and QR codes will offer. However, as more and more smartphones feature QR code and NFC tag readers, and awareness of viruses and mobile hacking increases, mobile security will be an even bigger factor to consider than in previous years.