My Take on Smartphones
Phil Asmundson, U.S. Media & Telecommunications Sector Leader, Deloitte LLP
I think that today, the word “smartphone” is a bit of a misnomer – or at least a disservice to the device itself. Sure, you can use it to make a call, but the fact is that the phone is increasingly a footnote to the overall functionality of the device. So it’s no wonder that it’s cannibalizing other devices.
For me, things get really interesting in the State of the Media Democracy Survey when you look at generational differences. Without diving too deeply into the numbers, it’s clear that the Mature demographic relies on smartphones for a handful of capabilities – talking on the phone, taking pictures, viewing photos, and so on. As you move down the demographics into younger users, you find them using these devices for an increasing number of tasks. Millennials (14-28 year olds as defined in this survey), meanwhile, use smartphones for everything from listening to music and social networking to recording videos and, yes, talking on the phone.
All of which might lead smartphone makers, app developers, and telecom service providers to expand their focus on younger generations. And they should – especially since these groups will only increase in importance as they age. But here’s the thing: the Mature (65-75 year olds as defined in this survey) and Boomer (46-64 year olds as defined in this survey) demographics have the sheer buying power that cannot be ignored today. Millennials are on the edge, where innovation happens. But innovations are monetized in the core – in this case, the core are the older generations. For the clients I speak with every day, one of the most important questions they’re looking to answer is: How can we get capitalize on the untapped potential of Mature and Boomer audiences while continuing to innovate and experiment with younger audiences?
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