A new GSMA Intelligence consumer report has concluded that “almost half of mobile phone users worldwide still only use their devices to make voice calls and send SMS”

The GMEI classifies mobile user engagement into four tiers:

  • ‘Aficionados’ (the most engaged),
  • ‘Pragmatists’,
  • ‘Networkers’ and
  • ‘Talkers’ (the least engaged).

The research reveals that ‘Talkers’ – those who only use their mobile phones to make voice calls and send SMS – accounted for 47 per cent of adult mobile phone owners in 2016. However, this segment is forecast to shrink to 29% of the total by 2030; since users across the developing world become more engaged due to advances in mobile innovation, affordability and availability.

‹Talkers› accounted for 47 per cent of adult mobile phone owners in 2016

The GMEI report published offers a number of insights based on the latest research:

  • South Korea, Qatar and the US are the three highest-scoring markets in terms of mobile engagement
  • Traditional SMS is still used more frequently than IP messaging in several mature markets, including France and the US
  • ‘Millennials’ are not necessarily more engaged mobile users than older generations; in markets such as South Korea, more than a quarter of smartphone users are ‘baby boomers’ (aged 51-69)
  • There are some markets, such as Myanmar, where smartphone ownership is relatively high but user engagement is low, due to digital illiteracy and a lack of locally relevant content
  • There are several African countries with high mobile user engagement in financial services; for instance, in Kenya and Tanzania, around four in every five adult mobile phone owners use their phones for mobile money services
  • More than 70 per cent of smartphone users globally watch free online videos on their phone (e.g. YouTube), and one in two smartphone users watch or replay live TV programes on their device
  • More than 70 per cent of smartphone consumers use their device to research information about products and services, but only one in two use it to order and purchase goods