New Zealanders are quickly embracing mobile apps, says David Thomas, director of TNS New Zealand.

The annual Mobile Life study, undertaken by global consultancy firm TNS, explores the behaviours, motivations and priorities of mobile use among 48,000 consumers in 58 countries.

TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management.

What is the enabling factor in the transformation of mobile relating to business to consumers?


The rise of the smartphone in this country, and globally, is most certainly the key driver. Ownership of smartphones in New Zealand increased by a third in the past 12 months, with 33 per cent of Kiwis now owning a smartphone compared with 24 per cent last year. While we are still behind Australia in terms of smartphone ownership and usage, our growth rate is rising faster.

Smartphone technology enables a wide range of opportunities for business including location-based services (LBS) and M-commerce. LBS are apps that allow businesses to provide potential customers with deals or added service based on their location, for example, a pizza place offering a discount to people using Foursquare, a popular LBS app. M-commerce is using your mobile for banking purposes, or instead of cash or plastic to pay for things.

How can brands establish a relationship with customers over a life-cycle?

Consumers are looking for apps which are convenient and give them the freedom to access information anywhere and anytime. Using LBS is one way in which New Zealand business can establish a strong relationship with their consumers. Our Mobile Life study found that New Zealanders already use advanced LBS mobile features more than the global average, with the majority using them for navigation purposes and to find nearby points of interest.

Our research also found that New Zealand consumers are very open to mobile advertising if a special offer or discount is offered and, crucially, is relevant to the consumer's current location or situation. To engage consumers, business needs to look at targeted offers, and continually develop relevant apps that will add value to their customers' lifestyles.

How are mobile devices being used to inform consumers on their 'path to purchase'?

Mobiles are increasingly involved in the shopper's journey and this is set to increase with the growth of smartphones. Our study found that New Zealanders are using their mobiles to research before entering stores, and are often seeking more information, comparing pricing options and paying for goods using their mobiles in store. This behaviour reflects an underlying desire to get the best deal, to make life as convenient as possible, and to know that decisions are made with the best available information - all needs which mobile and online technology facilitates.

What are the future trends in mobile usage and how it will affect NZ businesses?


I see the increase in the "path to purchase" offering growing, with the introduction of more applications making shopping easier for consumers. Kiwis have embraced new technologies like the smartphone, moving well past early adopters into the majority. Businesses will be forced to keep up or risk being left behind.

I also see a dramatic increase in M-commerce as consumers are being given more opportunities to use their mobile in this way. Kiwis show a high interest in using mobile banking, in fact we are well ahead of the global average. New Zealanders also want their banks to offer more mobile wallet services, and potentially it won't be long before using your mobile to pay for products and services will be as common as Eftpos is at present. Businesses need to be putting plans in place for these changes now.


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