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Non-smart phone users: the forgotten market?

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Around $1.7 billion a year is being spent by “traditional” mobile users, highlighting what could be an important customer sector going unmined by Australia’s telcos.

New telecommunications data released by Roy Morgan Research has revealed the 4.3 million of Australians not using smart phones, phones described as having computer-like functionality or having the ability to download apps, amounts to over 1 in 4 of the country’s mobile phone consumers. This means 17 per cent of the $10 billion annual yearly spend on mobile services comes from this often-overlooked group.

“In such a competitive space, mobile service providers naturally need to focus their marketing strategies and energies on customers who will need, want and eventually spend more,” Tim Martin, General Manager – Media, Roy Morgan Research, said.

“But as providers create offerings and deals that appeal only to consumers hankering for the iPhone 6, HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6 on a 4G network with big data allowance, there’s $1.7 billion up for grabs in 2015 from Australians who just want to use their current phone as a phone.”

The research found non-smart phone owners on pre-paid plans, while spending less overall than smartphone users, spend only $8 less than the average pre-paid smartphone users. Although post-paid plans supporting smart phones are seeing an average $20 more than those backing non-smart phones, it’s important to note those smart phone plans often include repayments of expensive handsets.

Of the 4.3 million non-smart phone users in Australia, 67 per cent said they do not intend to upgrade their handsets. While sale numbers of the latest devices are undeniably high, a surprising 1 in 9 said they have had their current handset for 10 years or more.

Other findings:

– Non-smart phone users make an average of 15 calls and send 14 text messages every week, while 1 in 8 make no calls and 1 in 3 send no texts.

– 69 per cent of non-smart phone users are over the age of 50, 17 per cent are aged 35-49 and 13 per cent are 14-34.

– 60 per cent of non-smart phone users say they do not enjoy people contacting them on their mobile phones.