Mobile in Europe is growing: Are you ready?

Consumers are increasingly going online to research and buy mobile communications products such as service subscriptions, accessories, and devices. Online sales in this area have grown by 33 percent each year for the past five years. More than 25 percent of Europe’s online consumers surveyed buy mobile products online, and there is potential for this figure to rapidly reach 30 to 40 percent, similar to other, more mature consumer electronics categories.

For mobile network operators, the online customer segment is sizable, attractive, and sophisticated.
For mobile operators, online consumers are an attractive demographic: in addition to being slightly older than the rest of the population, they have, on average, higher household incomes (see Exhibit 1). And they are willing to spend money on telecommunications devices and mobile communications plans. According to response data, online consumers spend 11 percent more on monthly mobile phone bills and 28 percent more on mobile devices than offline buyers.

Furthermore, online consumers are more likely to be “digital addicts” – about 30 percent own a tablet computer, double the level for offline buyers.

Amount more that
online buyers spend on mobile devices than offline buyers.
Smartphone ownership is also more common, and about two-thirds of consumers use such devices, compared to just 57 percent of those in the offline community. Online consumers also spend more time surfing the Internet and using data-related applications on their mobile phones; some 61 percent use these services often, while only 37 percent of offline buyers do the same. Data-related applications are increasing in number to support digital activities such as reading e-mail, listening to music, browsing social networks, video chatting, and online gaming.