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2010 Signals end of recession for mobile market: study


TORONTO – The New Year will see consumers reaching into their pockets again after a turbulent year, as the mobile market prepares itself for a surge in sales, suggests a TNS Canadian Facts study.

The market research firm’s Global Telecoms Insights study reveals that 55 per cent of Canadians are planning to buy a mobile phone within the next six months, up from just 19 per cent at this time last year. Touchscreen phones are set to be the big winners in 2010, with 28 per cent of consumers looking to buy one as their next phone. Mobiles with Qwerty keyboards are also rising in popularity, with 19 per cent planning to purchase one as their next device.

Another mobile device that stands to do well in 2010 is the netbook. Despite relatively low penetration levels today, 21 per cent of Canadians say they are likely to buy one in the next six months, compared to 22 per cent for larger notebooks and only five per cent for desktop PCs.

“The arrival on the market of so many new and exciting smartphones, at a time when consumer confidence is improving significantly, creates favourable conditions for the wireless sector to cash in. Purchase intent is at unprecedented levels and has risen dramatically since last year, which presents the industry with an opportunity to drive handset sales and simultaneously build incremental revenue through content and data plans,” said TNS’s Rajaie Matuk, who directed the Canadian portion of the global study.

But while the trend is pointing towards an upturn in the sector, new factors are at work that could restrain smartphones’ growth if left unaddressed.

“With the sheer number of smartphones on the market, the potential exists for data overload and network quality issues,” Matuk said.

Other potential barriers to growth found in TNS’s research include consumer confusion and ease-of-use issues. Canadians are faced with a plethora of new devices and find it hard to distinguish one from another. Also, 29 per cent of consumers highlight ease-of-use problems as factors that prevent them from using some of the new mobile services available.

Finally, competing devices such as netbooks and wireless Internet laptop sticks have the potential to take a large chunk of the market share for mobile phones, according to the study.

“All of these challenges are surmountable. If they can be met, and current rate structures maintained in the face of increasing competition, the industry can look forward to what may be its most prosperous period to date,” Matuk added.

The 2010 TNS Global Telecoms Insight study was conducted in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam. Over 26,000 participants were asked to comment on their usage of and attitudes towards telecommunications devices, with mobile phones forming the core of the study.

In Canada, online interviews were conducted between November 3 and 13, 2009 among 985 consumers who were randomly selected from the TNS Canadian Facts interactive research panel. The survey data were weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the Canadian population between the ages of 16 and 60. Figures were also weighted on a global scale to reflect each market’s relative size for consumption of telecommunication and technology products and services, including such factors as national mobile subscriptions and purchasing power parity.

About TNS

TNS, who recently merged with Research International, is the world’s largest custom research agency delivering actionable insights and research-based business advice to its clients so they can make more effective business decisions. TNS offers comprehensive industry knowledge within the Consumer, Technology, Finance, Automotive and Political & Social sectors, supported by a unique product offering that stretches across the entire range of marketing and business issues, specializing in product development & innovation, brand & communication, stakeholder management, retail & shopper, and qualitative research. Delivering best-in-class service across more than 70 countries, TNS is part of the Kantar Group. Please visit for more information.

About Kantar

Kantar is one of the world’s largest insight, information and consultancy networks. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 95 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.


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