New Mobile Audience Segments Aimed At Targeting

chartAre the consumers you're trying to reach on mobile phones part of the Mobirati or Social Connectors? And which is more likely to switch service providers or want advanced phone features? Those are some of the questions Experian Simmons seeks to answer through a new set of demographic and lifestyle segments it has devised for mobile based on the research firm's syndicated national consumer and Hispanic surveys.

The Experian Simmons study identified five roughly equal-sized distinct mobile user segments:


  • Mobirati: (19% of mobile phone owners) The mobile generation that has grown up with cell phones and can't imagine life without them. Cell phones are a central part of their everyday lives.
  • Social Connectors: (22%) Communication is central to their lives and cell phones allow them to keep up to date with friends and social events. The mobile device is the bridge to their social world.
  • Pragmatic Adopters: (22%) Cell phones emerged in their adult years and they're now learning they use them for things other than talking. Cell phones are more a part of their everyday life than ever before, but still mainly functional.
  • Mobile Professionals: (17%) Mobile phones help them keep up with their professional life in addition to their personal life. More likely to own a smartphone. Their phone has become their all-in-one device for all communication and information needs. Features are important.
  • Basic Planners: (20%) They're not into cell phones or technology. The cell phone is just another communication device for these consumers.
In relation to specific mobile brands, Mobirati and Mobile Professionals gravitated toward smartphone makers such as the iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm. Social Connectors favored brands associated with mid-level and high-end feature phones like Sanyo and LG. Pragmatic Adopters and Basic Planners went for brands including Nokia, Motorola and Sanyo. Nextel was popular with Mobirati and Social Connectors as well as Basic Planners.

Not surprisingly, the demographic that grew up with mobile phones was the most enthusiastic about using them for transactions. Mobirati were most interested in using their phones for m-commerce and most willing to accept ads in return for something else.

Experian Simmons also looked at mobile usage across three "psychographic" metrics: how willing they are to switch providers, how much they value added phone features, and how much they prefer using traditional landline service to mobile. Pragmatic Adopters were the most likely to switch services, with an eye always toward finding a better plan.

Among customers of the top 10 wireless providers, people with Boost Mobile, Alltel and Sprint Nextel were more prone to switching, while Tracfone and Virgin Mobile users were the most likely to stick with their phone services. Customers of those two prepaid services also favored wireline service over mobile more than other wireless users.

Among other findings, Experian Simmons found that aside from talking, the most popular mobile activity today is taking pictures, with 70% using camera phones to snap photos. Nearly a third (31%) check personal email on mobile devices and 21% check their business email. Half of cell users are engaged with some other type of media while on their phones, with watching TV being the most common (21%), followed by listening to the radio (13%) and Web surfing (12%). Fortunately, driving wasn't one of the other activities identified.

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