Whyfore Art Thou, Wireless?

  • by February 27, 2001
Whyfore Art Thou, Wireless?

Wireless NewsFactor reports that the mobile Internet still has considerable appeal among users of wireless devices, according to a new study from Accenture, formerly known as Andersen Consulting. However, all five countries surveyed overwhelmingly viewed wired PC connections as the most viable option for accessing the Internet. Just 15 percent of the study's 3,100 respondents said they accessed the Internet using a wireless device, and less than 1 percent reported using it to make purchases.

The United States had the highest rate of wireless purchasing, with 12% of wireless Web users actually making a purchase online, compared with 9% in Germany, 7% in Japan, 6% in the United Kingdom and 5% in Finland. Industry experts predicted that in the next five years, more than 130 million customers worldwide will spend $200 billion on mobile commerce transactions, producing revenues in excess of $22 billion.

A majority of survey respondents said cost prevented them from using the wireless Web. Small screen size and slow service also were cited as factors inhibiting its use. In the United States, the United Kingdom and Finland, more than half the respondents said the main reason they did not access the Internet via wireless devices was that they simply saw "no compelling reason to do so."

Still, the study showed roughly 40 percent of respondents in the United States and Europe found the concept of the mobile Internet either "somewhat appealing" or "very appealing."

And, in a related report by Jupiter Research, they found that audiences in the United States are small and fragmented, limiting advertising opportunities on wireless and interactive television. Jupiter said that while online ad revenue will reach US$16 billion by 2005, post-PC revenue will climb slowly, totaling some $5 billion -- $4 billion for iTV and $700 million for wireless devices.

Wireless ads have the advantage of immediacy, reaching consumers close to when and where they make purchases, but the lack of standards, audience fragmentation and questionable return on investment will inhibit the growth of marketing on these platforms, Jupiter maintained. Research analysts advised marketers targeting the post-PC audience to view them as "modal targets," or distinct groups of individuals with similar behaviors and attitudes that stem from their use of Internet-enabled devices, rather than using traditional demographics.

Consumers will demand a high price from advertisers trying to reach them on their mobile phones or PDAs, Jupiter said. And, 46 % of all users said that no form of compensation would persuade them to receive advertising on their mobile phones or PDAs

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