As many smartphones as people
Monday, 18 June 2012 11:30am

Half the Australian population is now using smartphones, a shift that is expected to ratchet up pressure on superannuation funds and wealth managers to use the emerging channel to communicate with members and distribute information.

Market research firm, Telsyte, predicts that more than 20 million smartphones will be used by consumers by 2016 and that by 2014 more Australians will access digital services via a smartphone than a computer.

This rate of penetration means Australia will have as many smartphones as people, and if you add in the number of traditional and legacy mobile phones, on average Australian consumers will have more than one phone device each.

This will create opportunities and challenges for businesses and governments alike because the major use of smartphones is accessing the internet, said Telsyte.

Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi, said, "businesses still lag behind in developing services to take advantage of this fast growing user base...The pace of change has made it hard for all but the largest corporations and dedicated technology companies to keep up."

Driving mobile internet usage, which will increasingly flow into tablet usage, is that 80% of children under the age of 15 already regularly access the internet, notes analysis from the Australian Bureau of Statistics Social Trends studies.

As these younger consumers mature they will force super funds and wealth management service providers to go mobile or risk losing access to this section of the market.

The increasing rate of smartphone takeup reinforces forecasts that Android will overtake Apple's iOS as the leading smartphone platform by 2014 even if by only a small margin.

The trend explains why telecommunications industry analysts already estimate the smartphone technical infrastructure sector to be worth over $15 billion per year.

Mobile internet access should not, however, be confused with how consumers access social media, which is just one style of website or communications theme.

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