[zawya] Usage of mobile phones to access the internet is expected to exceed 50 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, showed a recent research.
According to Real Opinions, a Dubai-based market research company, this represents an increase of 20 per cent since the same time in 2008. This is in stark contrast to the fixed desktop computers which is expected to see fall of 20 per cent in usage. The usage of laptop computers is expected to remain relatively constant with three in four users regularly using them to access the internet.
"The initial growth of the internet first happened with mainly those under 35-year old and business people. Today, we are seeing similar trends with those using mobile internet devices where these early adopters of new technology are leading the way for others to follow. The sheer convenience of the mobile internet is expected to power uptake with instant access to emails and social networking sites being particularly popular. Twitter is a great example of fusing the internet with mobile devices and we expect more sophisticated application to be developed like this as attention turns to mobiles," said Dan Healy, CEO of Real Opinions. He said these trends are also happening globally where a recent New Media Age article in the UK reported that the number of British mobile internet users increased from 2.8 million in May 2008 to 4.3 million in May 2009.
According to the research, even as 89 per cent of respondents claimed to have looked for official information about products, 81 per cent said they are likely to also look for unofficial information about products in the form of personal recommendations and reviews.
"Access to price comparison and product information websites while shopping using mobile internet devices is expected to present both challenges and new opportunities for businesses in the region. And it is not just about passively reading comments of others - it is also expected to become a very participatory experience online with 78 per cent claiming they are likely to enter their own comments in an online discussion about products," said Healy. "These evolving mobile internet trends are also having an impact on our own market research industry where the challenge is to develop new techniques to capture these new trends to help strategically guide business decision makers."
Real Opinions has responded by launching the Middle East's first website audience measurement tool Effective Measure which profiles the actual internet usage (analytics), demographics and lifestyle of visitors to websites. In this context, it also importantly records the percentage visiting using mobile internet devices. Healy said, "This will allow website publishers to monitor the growth of mobile devices used to visit their website and help them assess if they're including accessible content for them."
"To capture the 'right here, right now' generation of mobile internet users, we have also launched their mobile survey product which allows people to answer questions using their mobile phone. This is particularly useful for events, sponsorship feedback, media use and mystery shopping where having these results will allow them to assess a situation," said Healy.
Internet use on mobile phones to cross 50 per cent