As the UAE's smartphone ownership tips 73 per cent penetration, most consumers are looking to upgrade devices, which will, in turn, lead to more advanced app capabilities, according to a leading market research firm.
The use of more advanced smartphone features and apps is set to skyrocket as mobile internet use grows. "Mobile internet usage in the UAE is currently outstripping MENA regional and worldwide averages, which remain at 41 percent and 51 percent respectively," says Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS MENA. Mobile penetration, overall, was found to be at 92 percent across studied markets.
The TNS boss is referring to the insights of this year's TNS Annual Mobile Life Study, which draws on consumer behaviours, motivations, attitudes and responses.
"Marketers need to know that the impact of mobile in the Path to Purchase is now very real, with a strong group-purchase and coupon-redemption culture in the UAE. Brands must now consider mobile apps together with related mobile use to support in-store sales," he says.
"However, some figures marketers must bear in mind is that while 75 percent only download free apps, 67 percent of mobile users say they do not like to download too many apps and clutter the phone, while 61 percent admit to often forgetting about downloaded apps within weeks."
Apps vs. mobile websites – an issue of convenience?
TNS' research indicates that as more people gain access to smartphone technology, they are eager to use new content and functions, provided they are delivered 'convenience, experience, reassurance, relevance and independence,' as per the wording of the study.
"On the flipside, 78 per cent say apps are better than mobile websites for accessing content, while a similar percentage would delete apps if they aren't interesting. In fact, 73 percent say they are 'annoyed' when apps don't contain all the features via website access," Hamilton-Clark explained.
The TNS study confirms the massive potential of smartphone app usage among mobile users, but warns that deeper understanding of consumer behaviour should be sought before companies fully embrace the trends.
"We must remember that there is no cookie-cutter approach to marketing; we must go deeper and find out about each market segment to ensure their wants and needs are met," explained Hamilton-Clark.
"While we continue to choose diverse ways of seeking purchasing reassurance, an integrated approach that meets customer needs at all touch points is essential."
The TNS 2013 Mobile Life study draws on the behaviours, motivations and attitudes of 38,000 people across 43 countries. Further details can be found at: http://www.tnsglobal.com/2013/mobile-life