Challenges and Opportunities Facing Mobile Research on a Global Scale
At the recent Market Research in the Mobile World North America event held in Minneapolis, Carol Haney, vice president of Group Product Marketing at Toluna, presented the challenges and opportunities facing mobile research conducted on a global scale.
One of the challenges inherent in global mobile research is the unpredictability of the brand message to lead to its desired conclusion: a sales transaction. In the 1970s, this process is pretty much straightforward: the consumer sees the product on the store shelf and then decides to take the product home to use it. With the emergence of the internet and smartphones, this predictability was disrupted. For one, a real brick-and-mortar shelf and an online shelf are created.
In 2015, it is predicted that mobile research will become the norm in mature markets. Mobile research in emerging markets, on the other hand, is not expected to mature until 2017. Haney offered an estimate of three-to-five percent as the fraction of market research being conducted through mobile devices in 2013. And speaking of mobile devices, it was emphasized that the key benefit of current mobile research is to enable marketers to know what a consumer does on his smartphone and his reason for doing so.
In 2013, most emerging markets—such as India, Brazil, Russia, and Nigeria—have high rates of mobile usage but low rates of smartphone penetration. Meanwhile, mature markets—such as Germany, UK, and the United States—have been enjoying considerably higher smartphone penetration rates, what with Americans alone checking their smartphones an average of 150 times daily.
In mature markets, market research through a mobile device has been supplementing qualitative and online research methodologies. In terms of market research through mobile devices, Haney anticipated that 2014 would serve as a tipping point for emerging markets. By 2015, majority of the emerging markets would show the same trend. And by 2017, smartphones would be everywhere across the globe. The extrapolations were based on several factors, including the growth rate of smartphones over the past three years and the current income level of people.