The era of the smartphone and an increase in VoIP calls

29th September 2016

This week saw the release of the sixth annual Deloitte global mobile consumer survey 2016: There’s no place like phone. Over 4,000 respondents highlighted that the era of the smartphone is truly upon us, with more than 80% of UK adults now owning a smartphone, a figure which jumps to 91% for 18-44 year olds. Smartphone penetration is almost its peak as growth is expected to slow and the market consolidates, but innovation in the industry will continue to excite.

Not surprisingly the report details how we’re addicted to our smartphones. So much so that 34% of us check our phones in the middle of the night! While two thirds of us are merely checking the time the rest are checking instant messages, texts, social notifications, email, playing games and even reading books. Checking IMs is actually the second most popular nocturnal smartphone activity, which displays the continued drop in usage of traditional SMS text messages in favour of cheaper data powered communications.

On top of this the traditional mobile voice call has seen another year on year drop with 31% admitting to not having made any voice calls in the previous week. That leaves just 69% who had made a GSM call that week, back in 2012 this figure was a whopping 96%. Free messaging services have obviously contributed to this drop but calls made over VoIP have seen an increase as users look for more cost effective, and often times more reliable, ways of keeping in contact.

The main increase in VoIP calls is due to an increase in video calling from adoption of FaceTime and Skype (video is on the Vyke roadmap!), but voice calls made over VoIP have bucked the downwards trend of traditional voice calls and remain static, with 14% having made a voice call over VoIP in the previous week. The bottom line is we are keeping in touch more than ever, increasingly through messaging, but voice calls continue to be important, however, cost and availability of faster data (4G usage has more than doubled since 2015) continues to drive our phone usage.

Luckily for the traditional mobile operators they can keep driving the price of data ever upwards to make up for the shortfall in SMS and call revenue. Although I’m not sure anyone with a mobile contract is paying any less now than they were a year ago but data SIMS, PAYG SIMs and OTT services combine to offer potentially massive savings to any mobile phone user, even high end Apple and Android smartphone users.

The report also details how fingerprint readers are seeing huge growth (27% of smartphones have one with 76% of these in use), and this relatively new technology will continue to grow as it replaces passwords on websites and apps enhancing authentication and security. Growth in the internet of things has yet to kick off in earnest (only 2% of us own a smart light or smart appliance), but our guess is that the likely growth in smart home appliances and IoT will be seen as the manufacturers build them in to all home appliances and they become ubiquitous, which is probably a couple of years away. You can download the full report on the Deloitte site here or view some of the key take aways here.


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