The mobile phone is more than just a phone. It's a camera, a watch, a calculator, a radio all rolled into one small little, portable, palm-sized instrument. But that's not all. Telcos are now offering access to TV programmes, streaming video, internet, email, ability to make presentations, etc, on the phone.
Tech gurus have been predicting that the mobile phone will ultimately replace the several personal durables that have been in use by consumers. As the mobile phone starts multi-tasking, is there a need for any of the other single-function durables?
Along with AC Nielsen, ET undertook an exhaustive study to find what the consumer feels about the mobile phone's various applications. It posed one question: If you had a mobile phone that could replace all your other personal durables like the camera/TV/laptop/ watch/PDA/calculator/CD-man/radio, which durable would you still like to buy?
The answers form part of the detailed, quantitative ET-AC Nielsen study across four centres - Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata. At each of these centres, 250 respondents were surveyed. The respondents comprised working males of age group 25-54 years from SEC A & B.
The study reveals that the mobile phone would have the toughest time to replace the television which is the one durable that most persons across all age groups, income levels, married or single would like to possess. Of course, there are exceptions, like the Mumbaikar, who would rather buy a laptop than a TV.
Camera phone makers, please take note. The camera is the second most wanted durable across most categories. KK Kushwaha, vice president, CDMA terminal, LG Electronics, points out, “A multi-function phone is a convenience. But these (a camera and a mobile phone) are two different product categories with their own niche value.” After all, a camera phone cannot match the resolution and clarity offered by standalone cameras.
The ET-AC Nielsen study further reveals that there are more takers for the humble watch rather than the radio. “Besides telling you the time, a watch also meets the ego needs when wearers flaunt big brand names,” says a telecom analyst. There is a trend of cramming more and more functions in the mobile phone, but it is too early to speak about its impact on sales.
For a more detailed picture of the ET-AC Nielsen study, read on:
The television is one durable that respondents in both SEC A and B felt strongly about. While 48% of SEC A respondents are most likely to buy a TV, about 53% of respondents in SEC B are likely to buy a TV. Interestingly, while a higher percentage of persons (45%) in SEC B towns valued a camera, it ranked second after the TV, but in SEC A towns, it is the laptop at 34% (in SEC B only 19% of respondents voted for the laptop) that ranks as the second most sought after durable followed closely by the camera at 32%. IN SEC B, the watch was the third most important durable at 30% while it was almost equally in demand in SEC A at 26%. While the radio and calculator were seen as more important than the CD man and the PDA.
While the TV and camera, in that order, proved to be the most important durable across all age groups, but the laptops seemed to be preferred by the younger denizens while the older men preferred a watch over a laptop.
The television set, which is the unanimous choice across SEC A and B, across age groups, across married and unmarried males, is also the most wanted durable for metro males from Kolkata (73%), Chennai (52%) and Delhi (43%) except Mumbaikars who would rather buy a laptop (44%) or a camera (36%) than a TV (35%). Interestingly, for a slow moving city, Kolkata had 69% of respondents voting to buy a watch (the second most wanted durable) compared to 51% opting to buy a camera. This number is in stark contrast to Mumbai's 16%, Chennai's 6% and Delhi's 21% takers for a watch. In the latter three cities, the camera is the second most wanted durable.
By Marital Status
Married (51%) or single (49%), men want to watch TV or play with the camera. While married men prefer watches (no prizes for guessing why), single men prefer laptops.
By Monthly Household Income (MHI)
The lower the incomes, greater the demand for TV with 60% and 53% of respondents with incomes up to Rs 5,000 and Rs 5,001-10,000, respectively, choosing the TV. As income levels increased, the demand for laptops increased. The camera and the watch were the second and third most wanted durables across most income levels, barring those segments that preferred the laptop. The radio seemed to be the fifth most wanted durable for all respondents.