Study ID's Five Types Of Cell Phone Users

Line of phone usersCell phone users come in different flavors, like the phones they use, suggests market research firm Experian Simmons in its new Mobile Consumer Segmentation study.


The study, which says 87% of Americans have mobile phones, up from 69% in 2006, delineates five different classes of mobile users:

  • "Mobirati," 19% of mobile phone owners, are also the first generation to have grown up with mobile phones.
  • "Social Connectors", 22% of mobile phone owners are people for whom the mobile phone is essentially a social lubricant, and for whom texting is just as important as a voice call.
  • "Pragmatic Adopters" constitute 22% of cell users, and are just getting beyond using mobile phones solely for voice calls. They say that if service quality is disappointing, they will switch to another provider. They also say once they find one they like, they will stick with it.
  • "Mobile Professionals," about 17% use smartphones and haven't got a problem with using more complex phones and their variegated features. Experian Simmons says they actually feel that extra features are more important than calling, and are more likely to switch to service providers offering the latest technology.
  • "Basic Planners," about one-fifth of users, are interested in basic mobile packages only, and only use cell phones in emergencies, are confused by plans and don't use other features.



The study says the first group -- Mobirati -- favors BlackBerry, iPhone and Nextel; Social Connectors use Sanyo, LG and Nextel; Pragmatic Adopters use Motorola, Nokia and Sanyo; Basics use Nokia, Kyocera and Nextel, and Mobile Pros use iPhone, Blackberry and Palm.

The fall 2009 National Consumer Study finds that Mobirati are interested in cell services that would let them use their phones to make store purchases. They are also willing to get ads via their phones if they get something in exchange. And they use info from their phones to decide what to do and where to go in their free time.

They also index well above average as consumers most likely to stick with their carriers, while a lower-than-average number of Social Connectors is likely to stick with their mobile phone carrier. A much higher-than-average number of Pragmatic Adopters indexes as being more likely to switch cell service.

John Fetto, senior marketing manager at Experian Simmons, says that isn't a surprise. "Pragmatic Adopters are likely to be baby boomers, people in their 50s and 60s who have used their cell phones for a long time and are thinking now's the time to learn to use phone to do other things. It makes sense that Pragmatics, who may have been with the same service provider, are taking a look at their phones and evaluating who their provider is."

The study also finds that AT&T Wireless indexes well above average in tendency of customers to switch to another service, while TracFone indexes well above average for customer loyalty. Virgin Mobile's customers also over-index in having less of a propensity to switch.

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