We're All Just Teenagers When It Comes To Mobile

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

A look at mobile user attitudes by McCann Truth Central has decided that most mobile phone users exhibit teenage like behaviour with their devices.

"Globally, the average consumer has only been a mobile user for 12 years," said Laura Simpson, Global Director, McCann Truth Central. "That means that, in mobile years, it's as if we're all just becoming teenagers. And like most teens, we're taking risks and trying new things. Our data shows that in their relatively young adolescent mobile lives, consumers have owned 6.4 devices and entered into a serious relationship with a new mobile device or provider every 22 months."

"Our mobile teenage years create fantastic opportunities for brands to enhance their relationships with their customers," said Kevin Nelson , McCann's Global Telecom Lead. "But brands need to understand that people hold mobile to a higher standard than other mediums. This is because mobile is more personal, less like a TV or PC, and more like an extension of ourselves. Brands that respect this unique relationship will be championed and the ones who don't will quickly find themselves screened out."

Who am I anyway?

Teens are often on a quest to discover their true selves and define their own unique personalities. Surprisingly, the study revealed that people's mobile personalities are often very different from their "face to face" personalities. For example, a person who is usually seen as reserved "face-to-face" may well be far more outgoing on mobile. Average respondents were 50% more likely to be outgoing on their mobile devices.

The survey uncovered a number of distinct mobile personalities. The top 5 are Mobile Maitre-D (15% globally; #1 type in Spain, China, South Africa), Data Diva (11% globally; #1 in U.S. & U.K.), Wireless Warrior (10% globally; #1 in South Africa), iChatty (9% globally; #1 in India & Brazil) and Linked-Out Loyalist (8% globally; #1 type in Japan).

Don't judge a person by their home screen

Some of the less desirable elements of being a teen include pressure to fit in and a tendency to judge others. The study shows that 74% of respondents say that their mobiles have helped them to "fit in" rather than stand out. While 55% say that they judge people by the devices they own, 40% say they judge people by the mobile network operator they choose.

In Japan, a woman said, "There is a guy at work who has a rabbit as a phone cover, and I feel that type of cover is for a student. I worry whether I can do business with such guy."

The mobile advertising and network carrier opportunity

According to the study, 63% of people wish that the advertising they saw on their phone or tablet was more entertaining. At the same time, mobile advertising can be a real opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, the study found.

When mobile ads are fun and provide utility, consumers are keen to jump in. After seeing an interactive game on mobile, a consumer in the Philippines said, "I like that it's a game where you can win real prizes. You can really enjoy it, not just alone, but also with your friends."

Could mobile save the world?

The study also revealed a lot of excitement and hope among adult mobile phone users about the future world that mobile can deliver, an optimistic viewpoint that continued to liken them to teenagers.

Nearly 40% of people thought that mobile technology will make us more likely to develop global solutions for crime, 21% thought mobile technology can help us avoid global economic crises, and 16% thought mobile could help alleviate pandemic flu outbreaks.

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