Telecoms Retailing - UK - January 2011
The mobile phone retail sector has reached the first stage of maturity. The market is now saturated with mobile phone outlets, but now we are faced with just as many questions as we would have been ten years ago, but not because of immaturity, but because the nature of the market is changing. Technology is moving fast and the winners will be the most nimble and the losers those that don’t see the need to change.
- Online buyers are predominantly younger and more affluent. In mobile phones the young are the early adopters and they lead the way. They are much more confident about the products than older consumers, much less likely to need the help of well trained staff.
- Customers of the network stores are much less likely to buy online than those of independent retailers such as Carphone warehouse and Phones 4U. A large element of this business is probably contract renewal where the help of qualified staff is less necessary and having opted for one network it is easier just to stay with it.
- Some 31% of people bought their last phone online. But 27% reserached either online and in-store before buying. The overwhelming majority of these end up buying in-store.
- The young are much more likely to know what they want, but they can also be driven by other considerations. Those who choose a retailer because it is the only one that has a phone they want are typical.
- But many of this younger group are less confident, so we find those rating a retailer because the features of a phone will be explained are also relatively young.
- At the older end of the spectrum phones are still for making phone calls. these people are much more likely to return to a retailer they have used before. This is where high standards of service are important.
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