Ericsson: Internet Predicted to Emerge as Essential Service in UAE

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Anders Lindblad, President, Ericsson Region Middle East and North Africa.

Internet would be one of the last things consumers would give up if forced to cut costs.

Study reveals growing emphasis on social media and mobile data. ?Growth areas in 2012 to include mobile payments, mass-market adoption of smartphones by female consumers.

A new report from Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC), has revealed the top 10 consumer trends predicted for 2012. The report, which was the result of interviews with 100,000 individuals in more than 40 countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), revealed that internet connectivity is now seen as an essential service to consumers around the world.

The study, conducted by Ericsson ConsumerLab, also showed that once they are connected, the internet is one of the last things that consumers would be willing to give up if they had to reduce their expenses.

“2011 was a tremendous year that saw the human race evolve a step further in the way it communicates and it is clear that 2012 will see more progress,” said Anders Lindblad, President, Ericsson Region Middle East and North Africa. “It is only natural that the internet is now perceived as an essential service, much as we see electricity and roads. I do, however, find it very significant that the study shows that consumers in the UAE and around the world would only disconnect their internet accounts only as a last resort. This demonstrates what an important part of our lives the internet has become.”

Michael Bj?rn, Head of Research at ConsumerLab, added: “Consumers have taken to smartphone apps like fish to water. Touch and direct access via icons hide the complexity of internet services, and people are now willing to explore many new areas of everyday life – anything from recipes to receipts – that benefit from connectivity. We just concluded a study in emerging markets, and found that even first-time mobile-phone users very quickly become internet users. Connectivity is becoming an increasing part of their daily activities.”

The top 10 trends predicted for 2012 are:

1. Connectivity is king. Connectivity has become as essential as the air we breathe. Once they have been connected, consumers say the internet is one of the last things they would be willing to give up if they had to reduce their expenses.

2. Everyone can be a service provider. There is a huge demand for new services. The internet makes it possible for both companies and consumers to invent new solutions, such as apps.

3. Social media redefine news reporting. Social media drive consumption of pictures, video clips and music, and now they also help consumers judge the relevance of news by providing necessary social commentary.

4. Mobile phones play a significant role in everyday life. Consumers show most interest in mobile services that are directly related to nearby places or local services. While 90 percent of all smartphone owners always carry their phones with them, only 80 percent of them mention carrying money.

5. Transparency greater than privacy. People are getting used to living transparent lives and they also expect companies and other organizations to act transparently.

6. The cloud makes things easy to use. Sharing information and having several devices connected at all times is becoming the norm for consumers, resulting in the introduction of more cloud-based services. The main driver is ease of use.

7. Women drive adoption of smartphones. Our 2011 study of smartphone users showed that men still dominate usage of niche services on smartphones while significantly more women use regular services such as voice calling, SMS and Facebook. By actively integrating the use of all communications channels into one device, women are driving mass-market adoption of smartphones.

8. Making shopping easier. Our survey showed that 67 percent of smartphone users are interested in mobile payments. Payments should not be seen in isolation but must be put into a context of everyday shopping – for example, product information, bonus points, receipts and even indoor-shopping-mall navigation.

9. Everything connects. Mobile data surpassed voice in the fourth quarter of 2009 and doubled voice in the first quarter of 2011. Consumers are increasingly connecting to the internet and to things around them, such as cars, vending machines, ticket gates and more.

10. Uncertain times – consumers strive for control. In times of economic instability or when disasters such as earthquakes occur, we see renewed interest among consumers in services related to utilities such as water and electricity. Likewise, a change in disposable income is driving demand for consumers to be in control of service consumption.

For more than 15 years, ConsumerLab has been conducting research into people’s values, behaviors and ways of thinking about ICT products and services. Ericsson’s global research program is based on annual interviews with 100,000 individuals in more than 40 countries and more than 10 megacities.

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About Ericsson ConsumerLab

Ericsson ConsumerLab is a knowledge-based organization, our main offering is insight. We have more than 15 years’ experience in consumer research, which involves studying people’s values and behaviors, including the way they act and think about ICT products and services. We provide consumer insight to influence strategy, marketing and product management within the Ericsson Group. Our knowledge helps operators develop attractive revenue-generating services
We gain our knowledge through a global research program based on annual interviews with 100,000 individuals in more than 40 countries and more than 10 megacities – statistically representing the views of 1.1 billion people. We use both quantitative and qualitative research, and spend hundreds of hours on in-depth interviews and focus groups with consumers from different cultures. Our research includes general market and consumer trends and in-depth insights into specific areas.

To be close to the market and consumers, Ericsson ConsumerLab has team members in most of Ericsson’s market regions. Being part of the Ericsson Group gives us a thorough understanding of the ICT market and business models. This broad knowledge is unique and is the basis for our credibility and integrity. We see the big picture, understand where the individual fits in, and know what this means for future trends and services.

Cities involved in the latest research: Beijing, Berlin, Cairo, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, S?o Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Stockholm, Tokyo.

Regions/Markets involved in the latest research: Argentina, Australia, Benin, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan , Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, UK, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam.

Ericsson is the world’s leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. Ericsson is the leader in 2G, 3G and 4G mobile technologies, and provides support for networks with over 2 billion subscribers and has the leading position in managed services. The company’s portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, telecom services, software, broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and the media industry. The Sony Ericsson and ST-Ericsson joint ventures provide consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.

Ericsson is advancing its vision of being the “prime driver in an all-communicating world” through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 180 countries, more than 80,000 employees generated revenue of SEK 206.5 billion (USD 27.1 billion) in 2009. Founded in 1876 with the headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX, Stockholm and NASDAQ New York.

? Press Release 2012

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