Almost one in five (19 percent) of all mobile phone owners worldwide now listen to music on their phones, according to a new study by TNS, a leading global provider of market information. Amongst this global group, some 16 percent of all music they listen to daily is on their phones, compared with 15 percent on a stereo system at home and just 10 percent on a personal digital music player, such as an iPod. However, in the United States, only four percent of cell phone users listened to MP3s or digital music on their cell phone on a regular basis.
Across the 15 countries covered by the TNS study, 13 percent of all mobile phone users said that they use MP3 or digital music players on their phones daily or weekly. While the United States ranked last in the study, with only four percent, 26 percent of those polled in South Korea report regular listening of music via their mobile phone. In Hong Kong, 23 percent of respondents reported using their phones to listen to music; and 19 percent of those surveyed in the U.K. also reported regular usage.
While low in the United States, the trend may bode well for mobile music once MP3/digital music players become more widely available on handsets. However, a recent separate TNS study in the United States among 1,976 wireless users indicated that only 10 percent were either extremely or highly likely to purchase a wireless phone with an integrated iPod or MP3 player. One possible reason for slow U.S. adoption of the technology is that phones capable of downloading music were only introduced in the U.S. market within the past few months, and U.S. consumers are still unfamiliar with its uses and potential. In the same TNS U.S. based study, nearly-half of all users indicated no interest in having music on their wireless phones, while another 25 percent pointed to the expense associated with purchasing a wireless phone as a barrier to purchasing an integrated iPod or MP3 handset. Clearly, considerable work needs to be done to sell in the advantages of an integrated music handset approach to U.S. consumers.
Among those factors globally deterring mobile phone users from downloading more songs onto their phones are ‘insufficient memory’, ‘poor quality’ of the listening experience and ‘transferring music from other devices is easier than downloading’. U.S. respondents listed “expensive charges” and the fact that downloading uses up battery life as the top two reasons for not downloading music.
The global TNS study shows that many customers who listen to music on their phone do so while at home in addition to ‘on the go’, with almost a quarter (23 percent) who say they listen to music on their mobile phone ‘in bed’, ‘at home at weekends’ (21 percent) and ‘at home before and after work’ (16 percent). This is compared to nearly half (47 percent) who listen to music on their mobile phones on public transportation, and 32 percent ‘while waiting for an appointment or meeting’.
As proof of the growing global appetite for music on mobile phones, more than a third (35 percent) of phone users worldwide chose mobile music as one of the five applications they would like to start using, or use more of in the future. This puts mobile music in top place as the application with highest potential. This figure is highest amongst mobile users in South Korea (60 percent) and Sweden (46 percent). Once again, the U.S. ranked last in the study, with only 19 percent of respondents stating that they want to start listening to music on their cell phones.
Hanis Harun, Regional Director for Asia Pacific TNS Technology, comments: “The TNS study confirms a significant global interest in listening to music using mobile phones, with considerable potential for mobiles to take a greater share of the market in the future. Accessibility is still very much an issue, but usage, intensity and appeal are both high. Additionally mobile music appeals to a broad cross-section of consumers around the globe, with the main adoption drivers being lifestyle-related and a love for music.
“The pricing of downloads is still probably the greatest single barrier to encouraging more people to download and listen to songs on their phones. Other factors play a smaller part, including limitations of the capabilities of handsets and the time it takes to download. However, all the evidence points towards mobile music becoming increasingly competitive, on a worldwide scale, with personal digital music players such as iPods.”
Respondents also showed interest in either ’starting to use’ or ‘use more of’ the following applications in the future: ‘camera for photography’ (34 percent), ‘SMS’ (28 percent), ‘live radio’ (25 percent) and ‘video camera’ (24 percent).
About the study:
Global Tech Insight 2005 surveyed 6,800 adults aged 16-49 who own either a mobile phone, PDA or laptop and who access the Internet every week. The study was conducted in 15 countries globally between 11th July and 15th August 2005. The countries included in the study were:
Australia Brazil (Metro) China (Metro)
France Germany Hong Kong
India (Metro) Japan Korea
Netherlands New Zealand Russia (Metro)
Sweden UK USA
For further information about the study click here.
- Sanyo MVP - with ESPN
- Lost your iPod?
- iPod nano accessories
- Worldwide Use of Music on Cell Phones Gaining Wide Acceptance
- MP3 Players Top Teens’ Wish Lists This Christmas
- MP3 player = iPod
- MP3 Subscriptions
- TuneBox Speaker System for iPod shuffle
- Radio streaming live to cell phones and handhelds