Wireless Shoppers Favor Design and Features Over Carrier Loyalty

By July 08, 2010

When looking to purchase a new cell phone, consumers are not brand loyal - they are looking for the features they need and find out about different handsets using Internet search. So claim findings from search giant Google and Web

analytics company Compete, announced last month on the AdWords Agency Blog by the Google Tech Marketing Team.
Citing their numbers, "Wireless Shopper 2.0" reports that there are currently over 450 handset models available in North America, with ten new handset launches per week. To navigate this glut of wireless devices, consumers have developed certain patterns of behavior that adhere to general themes:

No brand loyalty: When they first begin looking, 42% did not have a a specific wireless carrier preference, 78% did not have a manufacturer preference (such as Apple, RIM, etc)
Design first: 45% purchased a new smartphone for the features, 22% "had to have" the phone they saw and purchased
Web search: 62% "who searched for a newly launched mobile device purchased one," the average consumer conducts thirteen searches throughout the process

Purchasing a new phone is more than ever dictated by cool new phones - purchases due to available upgrades through a provider are down eleven percent, such as the standard "New-for-two" subsidizing of a new handset for another two-year contract. Feature-driven purchases are up twenty percent, and model driven purchases are up seventeen percent from 2008.
As for smartphone-specific behavior, many consumers are choosing these Web- and application-enabled devices. 65 percent of smartphone purchasers are switching from other mobile phones. Many wireless carrier customers are switching carriers to purchase them, as the study showed more carrier veterans owned regular cell phones than not. Additionally, smartphone owners place higher stock in specific models than their cell phone owner counterparts. These customers also do more pre-purchase online research.

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