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Accenture Research Finds Vast Under-Use of Higher-End Mobile Applications Among U.S. Consumers

October 14, 2008

Despite the rapidly increasing use of handheld mobile devices throughout the United States, higher-end applications remain vastly under-used by the country’s consumers, according to results of an Accenture (NYSE: ACN) survey released today.

The survey found that 88 percent of U.S. consumers said they never use their mobile phones or other mobile devices to watch videos; 84 percent said they never use their mobile phones or mobile devices to send email; and 79 percent said they never employ them to play “games on the go.”

The purpose of the survey, which divided the more than 5,000 adult respondents into three age groups (18 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55 and older), was to identify and quantify spending patterns and usage involving more than a dozen consumer electronics devices and applications, including cell phones, personal computers, TVs and the Internet.

The survey also revealed that 38 percent of all respondents spent less than $500 to buy consumer electronics products during the previous year. In this same time period spending was highest among those in the 18-to-34 age group, with 17 percent of them purchasing between $1,500 and $3,000 of consumer electronics, compared with only 11 percent of those at least 35 years old.

Similarly, four times as many of the 18-to-24 year olds–the extreme young end of the 18-to-34 participant group–said they spent more than $3,000 on consumer electronics products during the previous year, than did those 55 and older (12 percent and 3 percent, respectively). This 18-to-24 year old group revealed that they are twice as willing as those over 55 to pay a subscription fee of between $1 and $5 per month for someone to help them by phone to install and configure their consumer electronics products (12 percent and 6 percent, respectively).

The survey also found particularly sharp contrasts in usage of social networking, blogging and online site usage between those in the 18-to-24 age range and those 55 and older. The 18-24 year olds were more than 10 times as likely as those over 55 to use social networking sites (73 percent versus 7 percent) and seven times as likely as those 55 and olders to write blogs or contribute to online sites (35 percent versus 5 percent).

“These survey results point to important missed business opportunities in the mobile handset and social networking arenas,” said Kumu Puri, a senior executive with Accenture’s Electronics & High Tech practice. “Clearly, many consumers are not widely embracing higher end cell phone applications. And the vast majority of older Americans, in particular, are not inspired by the social networking phenomenon.

“To capitalize on these market realities, consumer technology companies need to customize their ease of use and design differentiation for the different age groups,” Puri added. “This begins with envisioning a specific consumer’s experience and delivering that through hardware, software and services that are more compelling and enjoyable.”

Methodology

Internet-based market research company Survey.com, on behalf of Accenture, queried 5,047 U.S. adults in December 2007 to identify the types of consumer electronics that respondents own; how respondents use the devices; and to better understand the technology lifestyles of respondents. More than a dozen devices were covered in the survey, including computers, mobile phones, HDTVs and DVD players. All respondents were at least 18 years of age, and 95 percent have at least a high school education. The data were weighted to make the age groups and genders match the most updated U.S. Census.

Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With more than 186,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$23.39 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2008. Its home page is www.accenture.com.




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