If you thought that the entire world is connected with a mobile phones.
Well, you’re wrong – but only by about two hundred million people. Research has shown that there are currently 6.8 billion active cell-phone subscriptions in the world. Although some people have more than one phone, it is still 200 million people short of the world’s population (7 billion).
To help shrink that down, consider this: for every 100 people in the world, 96 of them have cell phones.
Smartphones are quickly becoming popular, too – it’s estimated that there are almost 1.5 billion smartphones in the world right now (that means one out of every five people owns a smartphone). By the end of 2015, it’s estimated that this number will rise to 1.75 billion.
With so many smartphones being seen as a luxurious item to own (and they still are), it’s tempting to assume that the majority of smartphone users reside in the United States and European countries. But that only explains a few hundred million people – not 1.5 billion.
So where are the rest of the mobile users – and what are they doing with it?
Hint: look to the East.
If you’re a mobile phone creator, manufacturer, or even distributor, there’s one market you’d want to pay attention to: Asia.
In 2014 alone, Asia’s consumption of smartphones skyrocketed to new heights, leaving many mobile manufacturers scrambling to keep up with the incredible demand. Let’s take a look at how aggressively smartphone use has grown in the past year:
This isn’t just aggressive; it’s downright astonishing. These numbers show emerging markets that are making more money and want to spend it on luxury goods – and smartphone manufacturers are struggling to keep up.
What’s even more interesting is that many manufacturers are actually tailoring existing products to meet specific demands and needs in some Asian countries.
Indonesia is currently showing high demand for tablets with particular features, with one of them being voice-calling functions. In 2014, electronics vendors shipped over 13.8 million tablets with voice-calling functions to Asian markets in the second quarter alone.
So why is there such a demand for tablets that have voice-calling functions? Some researchers and marketers believe that consumers in Indonesia may be working with tighter budgets, meaning they need to purchase a single device that merges together multiple functions. These are the customers who aren’t happy walking around with multiple devices, or simply can’t afford to – instead, they want to satisfy their budget by getting one electronic device that meets their every need.
With many tablets costing between $100 and $300, it’s no wonder consumers in Indonesia and other Asian countries are in constant demand for these tablets, as they’re remarkably affordable compared to other tablet models.
In fact, Indonesian advertisers are taking notice. Many advertising campaigns are branding these devices as “tablets with voice options” – indicating that Indonesians won’t touch an electronic device that won’t function like a computer and smartphone.
It’s certainly an interesting modification on tablet and phone technologies that’s taking off like wildfire in the Asian markets!
It’s not just Indonesia where customers are indicating that they only use one form of technology for all of their device needs; Malaysia is another Asian country that demands more from its mobile phones and tablets. In a recent study, over a third of smartphone users in Malaysia said that their phones were their only device for going online. This means that instead of computers and laptops, a large minority in Malaysia is relying on their smartphones to connect with the rest of the world.
The same can be said for residents of Vietnam, where an astonishing number of people indicated that they only used their mobile phones to access the Internet (close to 25%). This is different than countries like South Korea and Hong Kong, where less than twenty percent of people indicated that they only used their smartphones to access the Internet.
Whether you’re a manufacturer or an app developer – and whether you have an existing market in Asia or you plan on expanding in the near future – it pays to keep an eye on what’s happening in Asia. These countries are usually a pretty good indicator of what we can expect to hit our shores in the United States and Europe, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see more inclusive and innovative smartphones and features.
As a business, you should realize that a sizeable portion of your market might only be using their mobile phones to access the Internet and browse your website. If you want to optimize this experience, it pays to ensure that your customers can reach you on a single device by offering them a seamless experience. That means offering in-app services like voice calling, which allows your customers to connect to you inside the app or even on the browser – all without leaving the website.
These changes won’t just have a profound impact on your clientele in Asia; you’ll also see other countries taking advantage of this new experience. Ensure that your app or website (or both!) can support voice calling, and you’ll enable a new market to reach out and connect with you.
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