M:Metrics has published some new insights on ringtones and mobile music. The measurement firm reports that although ringtones are universally popular among both males and females, there are significant differences between the sexes when it comes to the types of mobile music downloads.
M:Metrics' August Benchmark Survey found that whereas females are significantly less likely to use most mobile data services compared with male counterparts, they are about 6% more likely to download ringtones, representing 52.6% of mobile subscribers who purchased at least one in the quarter ended August 2005. Females predominate in certain music genres for ringtones and are 60% more likely to purchase a pop ringtone than are males, for example. Males are 68% more likely to choose a hard rock or heavy metal ringtone. Overall, hip-hop is the most popular genre across both genders, accounting for 20% of all downloads and just beating the rock or alternative category as the most popular genre for males.
"Mobile phones are used in a social context, and as such the phone a consumer carries makes a personal statement. Mobile phone users--particularly youth and young adults--turn to ringtones as a form of social expression," observed Mark Donovan, vice president, product and senior analyst. "This data indicates that the female predilection to accessorize extends beyond the material world: women are picking up the hottest pop ringtone like they would a new pair of shoes or handbag. Males, on the other hand, prefer to project their masculinity through their preference for hard rock and non-musical ringtones, such as sound effects and celebrity voices or movie clips."
Interestingly, whereas females rule in ringtone consumption, males are leading in the adoption of ringback services.
M:Metrics found that males are 16% more likely to have subscribed to a ringback subscription in August, and were 25% more likely to have previously subscribed to a ringback subscription that they had since canceled at the time of the survey.
"The ringback data illustrates a consistent finding with new mobile technologies," noted Donovan. "Although ringbacks are a form of personalization, today they are first and foremost a novel technology, and males are consistently more likely to embrace new technologies and gadgets. We see this trend reflected in data we collected about attitudes toward mobile music."
Although the market for music on mobile phones is only beginning to emerge in the U.S., M:Metrics' latest survey also reveals early insights on consumers' intentions to consume mobile music.
Mobile subscribers appear most interested in moving music tracks from their computer to their phone, with 12.7% indicating they are likely to do so in the coming year. Less than 9% of mobile subscribers reported that they were likely to subscribe to a mobile music service in the next 12 months. In each scenario, males comprised a majority of those who indicated interest in using their mobile phone as a music device.
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