Mobile Intensives on the Rise, says InsightExpress

Digital market research firm InsightExpress has released the results of its latest Digital Consumer Portrait study, which identifies a shift in three major mobile user profiles. The company says these rapidly-evolving segments, Mobile Intensives, Mobile Casuals and Mobile Restrained, represent the latest in mobile behavioural and attitudinal trends among consumers.
The data was gathered as part of InsightExpress’ Q4 2009 Digital Consumer Portrait, a quarterly study of 1,000 – 1,500 US consumers conducted since July 2007. For Q4 2009, a total of 1,050 surveys were completed by a sample representative of the US online population.

The Mobile Intensives group represents 23 per cent of the mobile universe, up from about 15 per cent in early 2008. Members are characterized by smartphone ownership (68 per cent) and a desire to utilize all capabilities offered by their mobile phone (mobile internet, texting, videos, applications, etc.) The vast majority of Mobile Intensives (86 per cent) fall within the sought-after 18 – 44 year age range and just over half (54 per cent) earn over $50,000 (£33,000) a year. Mobile phones play a key role in the lives of these consumers; in fact, 45 per cent check their mobile either first or second thing in the morning (the bathroom is the phone’s main competition).

Mobile Intensives are more likely to have decision-making responsibility for key verticals such as travel, finance, health, and other discretionary spending areas. They also consider themselves to be influencers in categories such as travel (hotels, airlines, car rentals); investments; discretionary spending (restaurants, clothing, electronics, movies, cable/satellite); and prescriptions and personal care items.

InsightExpress says that advertisers and marketers should take notice of Mobile Intensives, as this group is most open to advertising. Over half (53 per cent) agree that they “Look at advertisements to see what I should purchase” while 44 per cent agree that they “Make a want list” of products advertised.

Mobile Casuals represent 24 percent of the mobile universe (on a par with early 2008), and are characterized by their use of mobile phones simply as a lifestyle-enhancing convenience. While smartphones seem to be an emerging interest for this group (15 per cent own one), 85 per cent own a feature phone. Mobile Casuals are more likely to be female (65 per cent), fall into the 35 – 54 age range (59 per cent) and make under $50,000 a year (also 59 per cent).

Unlike Mobile Intensives, Mobile Casuals are not devoted to their devices. However, they are more likely than the Mobile Restrained group to use their phones for texting and photos. Almost three quarters (73 per cent) text once a week, 43 per cent take pictures once a week, and 21 per cent send pictures once a week.

Mobile Casuals also appear to be almost as engaged in advertising as their Mobile Intensive peers. 46 per cent agree that they “Look at advertisements to see what I should purchase” but only 35 per cent agree that they “Make a want list” of products featured.

Currently representing 53 per cent of the mobile universe (down from 60 per cent in 2008), Mobile Restrained individuals are the least sophisticated mobile users. A whopping 96 per cent own a feature phone instead of a more advanced smartphone. More than half (57 per cent) are over 45 years old, and 55 percent make less than $50,000 a year.

The Mobile Restrained group is also less active when it comes to texting and photos, with 47 per cent texting once a week and 27 per cent taking a mobile picture once a week. Like Mobile Casuals, 47 per cent agree that they “Look at advertisements to see what I should purchase” but Mobile Restrained individuals are least likely (28 percent) to agree that they “Make a want list” of products featured in advertisements.

“The mobile universe is rapidly changing, almost as quickly as the devices themselves,” says Joy Liuzzo, senior director, mobile and marketing at InsightExpress. “I’m especially excited about the growth in Mobile Intensives, which shows a shift among consumers and the continued integration of mobile technology into their lives. This benefits advertisers by providing them with a range of diverse consumer segments. Our research not only gives marketers a snapshot of current mobile profiles, but also a look at where the industry is headed.”