Mobile Market May Have Hit 'Inflection Point': Study

While the U.S.  Edition of Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, released today, is not overflowing with eye-popping consumer trends, it does contain a few stats that provide clues on where consumers’ dollars are headed.

In short, they’re heading away from tablets, and toward voice-assisted speakers.

Smartphones are still the big mobile category — but sales of that device can’t grow much more, because there isn’t much room at the top. In this survey, 85% have smartphones, up 3%.  Only those phones and the smartwatch, now used by 14%, have increased penetration, with watches just one percentage point higher in this latest survey.

Every other device — tablets, VR headsets, eReaders, game players, fitness bands, old-style mobile phones  and laptops — is lost in the mobile shuffle.



Deloitte asked consumers “Which, if any, of the following devices do you own, or have ready access to?

Smartphones were the only category that has consistently grown in popularity over the last five years.

Tablet penetration, meanwhile, was at 62% in 2017; it’s at 57% this year, tracking the largest decline of all mobile devices.

In the report’s concluding passage, the authors note that “parts of the mobile ecosystem may have reached an inflection point over the past year.” They say “product form factors” — as in larger smartphones that supplant the tablet for some — and “product maturity and cannibalization” are changing the mobile universe.

The data would seem to suggest Apple was wise to position its iPad Pro, unveiled with a splash  earlier this month,  as a replacement for consumers’ laptops, not their tablets. Prices ranges from $799 to a hefty $2,227,

The report’s survey questions about voice assistants mainly dealt with those built into mobile phones. Deloitte says 46% of respondents use their phone’s voice helper weekly. Altogether, 64% used it at some point in 2018, compared to just 53% last year.

The survey also reported that overall more than half of U.S. consumers now use a voice-based assistant of some sort.

The report follows trend lines that have been observed for a while, including the love-hate relationship some have with their smartphones,

The report says smartphone users typically look at it 52 times a day (up 6% over last year’s survey.)

But according the survey:
--39% think they use their smartphone too much;
--63% are trying to limit their use of it, while
--just 32% are succeeding.

More than 80% say they bought their phones in the last two years but the report says users are now holding on to them longer.

Consumers are also concerned about sharing personal data with third parties and about usage of their personal data (86%  are “very” or “fairly” concerned about each one). And 83% are “very” or “fairly” concerned about storage of their personal data.

On the other hand, most of them aren’t doing anything more about the privacy issues, though there are a few glimmers of action. Only 18% now share photos online (down from 32% a year ago), and just 15% will share their contacts/phone book (down from 29%).

The research and consulting firm interviewed 2,000 consumers in the U.S.  It also conducted a worldwide study.

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