Two thirds of world’s mobile users signal they want to be found

24 April, 2012


TNS_guid745f88f102664471988c471a31ab185e

TNS reveals big opportunities for business as location-based services go mainstream

LONDON — Location-based services (LBS) have topped the global league as the mobile feature set to grow the most, after world leading insights consultancy TNS revealed over 60 per cent of those that don’t yet use the service globally want to start using them.

TNS’s annual Mobile Life study – which explores mobile use among 48,000 people in 58 countries – shows the majority of people around the world now recognise the value of sharing their location to benefit from a range of services.

The key findings, released today as a set of interactive visualisations (available at www.tnsglobal.com/mobilelife) show that the services and apps people use vary considerably from region to region.

Location-based services move into the mainstream
Almost one fifth (19 per cent) of the world’s six billion mobile users are already using LBS, with more than three times this number (62 per cent) aspiring to do so in the future. Navigation with maps and GPS is currently the most popular motivation behind LBS uptake (46 per cent), but there is growing interest in more diverse activities, with 13 per cent of current social network users ‘checking-in’ through platforms like Foursquare, or Facebook Places – a 50 per cent uplift on 2011.

LBS users are increasingly using services to enrich their social lives, with one in five (22 per cent) using it to find their friends nearby. Around a quarter use the technology to find restaurants and entertainment venues (26 per cent) or check public transport schedules (19 per cent) and 8 per cent to book a taxi. 

Savvy LBS users have realised that there is something to be gained from sharing their locations with brands and retailers – with one in eight (12.5 per cent) sharing their location in exchange for a deal or special offer. Beyond current users of LBS, a third of people globally (33 per cent) who already or would like to use mobile voucher schemes, highly rate receiving deals when they are nearby a store that they like. One in five mobile users (21 per cent) stated that they find mobile advertising interesting if it is offering them a deal near their current location.

James Fergusson, Global Head, Digital & Technology Practice, at TNS, explained: “We are really starting to see location based services ‘come of age’. People are realising that sharing their location often offers some kind of reward in terms of a discount or deal. It is the combination of time and context – directing people towards a deal when they can easily redeem it – that unlocks a powerful tool for marketers to develop precise targeting approaches.”

A complex map of global use
While the study has shown an increasing willingness to engage with LBS, there are also significant variations in people’s reasons for embracing the service across different markets.

Of all current LBS users, Latin Americans most use the feature to find friends, with 39 per cent stating it as the top reason to share their location, compared to only 11 per cent in India. Finding friends via LBS falls to just 9 per cent in North America and only slightly higher in Europe at 20 per cent.

Applications of LBS also differ widely around the world. In the technology-saturated markets of developed Asia 36 per cent of people use location services to find restaurants and entertainment venues nearby, whereas in China this falls to 17 per cent. This puts Chinese people just ahead of Sub-Saharan Africa, where 10 per cent of LBS users use it to find places to go out.

James Fergusson continued: “These regional variations highlight the importance of having a targeted strategy when it comes to location based marketing. LBS offers marketers an unprecedented level of engagement and targeting, however it has to be done in line with how people in individual markets want to engage with brands to avoid being intrusive. Where brands get it right, we have seen significant rewards in terms of brand engagement, loyalty and sales.”


About Mobile Life
Mobile Life is an annual investigation into the behaviours, motivations and priorities of the world’s mobile phone users. Now in its seventh year, Mobile Life is the most comprehensive view of how the world’s consumers are using their phones today and the opportunities this presents for brands. A set of interactive data visualisations exploring the current – and potential future – use of a range of apps and services is available at www.tnsglobal.com/mobilelife.

Based on 48,000 conversations in 58 countries, Mobile Life is designed to capture the entire population of mobile users in each market and includes: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, UK, Ukraine, USA, Vietnam.

About TNS
TNS advises clients on specific growth strategies around new market entry, innovation, brand switching and stakeholder management, based on long-established expertise and market-leading solutions. With a presence in over 80 countries, TNS has more conversations with the world’s consumers than anyone else and understands individual human behaviours and attitudes across every cultural, economic and political region of the world.

TNS is part of Kantar, one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups.

Please visit www.tnsglobal.com for more information.

About Kantar
Kantar is one of the world's largest insight, information and consultancy groups. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 28,500 employees work across 100 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle. The group’s services are employed by over half of the Fortune Top 500 companies.

For further information, please visit us at www.kantar.com 

Media enquiries
Global – Zoe Lawrence, +44 7414 473 073, zoe.lawrence@tnsglobal.com

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