Smartphone, tablet adoption accelerates: AIMIA survey

Some 76 per cent of Australians have adopted smartphones and 38 per cent own tablets, survey shows

Businesses must adapt as tablet and smartphone adoption accelerates, mobile industry officials said at an Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA) event in Sydney.

AIMIA released a survey showing that 76 per cent of Australians have adopted smartphones and 38 per cent own tablets.

AIMIA surveyed 1784 Australians for its <i>2012 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index</i> (AMPLI). The socio-demographic profile of the sample was consistent with the profile used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and is representative of Australian mobile phone users between the ages of 18 and 75, according to AIMIA.

AIMIA predicted smartphone and tablet adoption will continue to increase. Complete the Picture Consulting director Marisa Mackay said that from the AIMIA survey results it is estimated that 84 per cent will own smartphones by mid-2013. Tablets, which increased in adoption to 38 per cent from 16 per cent last year, could hit 70 per cent adoption among Australians by the middle of next year, she said.

Apple dominates both the smartphone and tablet markets, the AIMIA survey found. Apple represents 40 per cent of the smartphone market and 70 per cent of tablets, it said. The Apple smartphone share is up from 32 per cent in 2011. By comparison, Nokia’s smartphone share shrank year-on-year to 16 per cent from 28 per cent.

People use smartphones and tablets for different reasons and mostly don’t view one as a replacement for another, Mackay said. “The tablet and the mobile phone are going to be complementary devices,” Mackay said. “Early days yet, but I do think there is evidence that those devices are not cannibalizing each other.”

Telstra BigPond general manager Dale Cohen said he’s not surprised by AIMIA’s estimate of 76 per cent smartphone adoption in Australia. Telstra customers who buy feature phones are an “increasing minority”, he said.

Google expects more than 1 billion people worldwide will use mobile devices as their primary method to access the Internet this year, said Alexandre Lamvohee, Google mobile display lead for Australia and New Zealand. Google refuses to green light new projects by its developers unless they are designed for mobile devices first, he said.

More smartphones and tablets in consumers’ hands will also drive adoption by the enterprise as people increasingly expect to bring their own device into the work place (BYOD), mobile industry officials said.

“To be seen as a progressive organisation [and] to be attractive to employees out there, you are going to need to provide these type of digital devices,” said Mnet sales director Kristy Manson. Currently, about 50 per cent of tablet users in the workplace use their own device, she said.

Windows 8 is likely to further drive enterprise adoption of tablets because it’s built for that type of device, said Telstra and Nokia officials. Microsoft products “are still more dominant in the enterprise space”, so businesses are likely to pick up Windows tablets and hybrid devices, said Nokia developer relations manager Jem Reis.

Windows 8 is a “massive, massive shift” for Microsoft, Cohen said. “It’s clear that their view is that tablets are the future.”

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

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