The UAE’s smartphone ownership is strong, with a 73 per cent penetration and most consumers looking to upgrade devices, according to Steve Hamilton-Clark, CEO of TNS Mena, a custom market research organisation.
Hamilton-Clark predicts usage of more advanced features and apps is set to explode as mobile internet use grows. “Mobile internet usage in the UAE is currently outstripping Mena regional and worldwide averages which remain at 41 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively,” he said.
Hamilton-Clark was speaking on 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 said.
“However some figures marketers must bear in mind is that while 75 per cent download only free apps, 67 per cent of mobile users say they do not like to download too many apps and clutter the phone while 61 per cent admit to often forgetting about downloaded apps within weeks.”
The study shows that as more people gain access to smartphone technology, they are eager to use new content and multiple functions as long as they deliver convenience, experience, reassurance, relevance and independence.
“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 per cent 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 App usage amongst 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.”