Many of the add-on functions available on cell phones – like cameras, MP3 players and instant messaging – is strongly related to the age of the user.
The Digital Lifestyle Predictor (DLP), a study conducted by BMI-TechKnowledge into the digital lifestyles of South African consumers who live in mid to high income households (above R8000 household income), was the first major study of its kind to be done in the metros of South Africa.
Respondents in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban were asked about their internet activities, cellular activities, digital goods, and brand attitudes, in order to provide new depths of insight into consumer digital trends.
One aspect of the DLP research looks at consumers’ handsets, and what type of functionality they look for when purchasing a new handset. A feature set of 13 attributes were compared among consumers of varying income, age and population groups.
High on the list of features for all age groups and income brackets was battery-life and being user-friendly. These are less glamorous features, but are extremely important to consumers, likely born out of frustrations in the past.
Camera functionality is also very high, especially amongst younger consumers, coming in third on the list amongst 16-24 year olds, second amongst 25-34 year olds, but dropping to fifth amongst consumers older than 35.
Strong competition between the handset manufacturers, along with intense marketing campaigns, appears to have caught consumers’ attention, with the measure of mega-pixels being used as a yardstick.
The DLP found that having a built-in MP3 player is very important to both 16-24 year olds and 25-35 year olds, but the importance drops dramatically in older consumers from around fifth most important to eleventh most important. These consumers, who grew up in the era of LPs and tape-decks, are not interested in this type of functionality in a cellphone and look towards other aspects when considering a new handset.
The percentage of consumers who see instant messaging as important in a handset is very strongly related to age, with younger consumers being far more interested in this type of functionality. The converse is true of factors such as e-mail functionality, with its importance peaking in the 35-44 year old segment.