But the survey went further than that initial report, digging into the ways in which people actually use their phones. We’re arguably guilty of painting a ‘hyperactive’ picture of smartphone owners here on Conversations. As though we’re all continually gaming, photographing or firing-up a new app every five seconds.
But what are people doing in the real world?
The first surprise from the results is that data plans have superseded SMS when it comes to these Lumia 900 buyers. Nearly everyone (96 per cent) opted for a data allowance as part of their plan, while 84 per cent chose to have text messaging.
True, buying a smartphone with no data plan is a bit like buying a car without an engine. But nonetheless, SMS used to be absolutely universal among mobile phone owners and it’s an interesting sign of the times to see a relatively large number of customers now view it as an unnecessary extra.
Customers were then given a long list of activities you can do with your Lumia. Everything from Maps, to making movies, to editing Office documents. But what had users actually done in their first month of ownership? (The list didn’t include ‘making phone calls’ – if owners hadn’t managed this activity in the first month, we’d be pretty surprised to say the least).
Here are the top ten activities – the percentage is the proportion of owners that had done the activity.
- Use camera for still pictures (93%)
- Browsing websites (89%)
- Use social networks (85%)
- Download apps from the Marketplace (83%)
- Access email (83%)
- Connect to WiFi (83%)
- Customise the home screen (81%)
- GPS (81%)
- Set up an email account (80%)
- Download games from Marketplace (78%)
No big surprises there. Though you might be intrigued to see that using social networks wins out over apps and games.
I also wonder about the seven per cent of owners who have bought a camera phone and never even tried out the camera. Have they not opened the box yet?
So what else don’t people do? It turns out that less than half of these new owners had edited an image or a video on their device. This was the least popular activity on the list. I guess that most normal people just don’t edit their photographs, full stop. Doing it on your phone must seem like an act of ultra-geekery to them.
Not as many people as you might think (just over half) bother to set up a music or photo library on their phone. Again, something that has to be done within the first few hours of getting my hands on a new phone for a geek like me is simply not a necessity for a lot of regular owners.
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One last area where there’s interesting news is the Marketplace. Three quarters of owners had paid for apps, with the average monthly spend being what seems like a very high $15. That’s double the industry average of $7.50 and a higher proportion of customers (the average is around 2/3).
True, you’re very likely to spend more on apps when you first buy a phone, and once you’ve got the basics covered and a handful of games, you’ll probably spend less in coming months. For me, what the result shows is that people are very comfortable with both the idea and the process of buying apps and games.
Are there other activities that you think are over-emphasised by tech publications, compared to what regular users want?
The survey was conducted for Nokia by leading market researchers, Nielsen, between April 27, 2012 and on May 18, 2012.
A total of 810 people completed an online questionnaire and all the respondents had bought a Nokia Lumia 900 in the United States within the previous 45 days and was the primary user of the device.