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The Mobile Ambiguity

2016-01-22 12:53 by Nathalie Kantorowicz (comments: 0)

We’ve talked already about the issues raised by consumers, when it comes to the trust they place in mobile. Whether it was about banking and purchasing on mobile, or wearables and connected tech, back in 2014, the feelings were mixed, and this across our communities of consumers (men and women, teens, young adults and 25 to 60 years old, in France & the UK). Now, if 2015 has been the year where consumers have started to embrace digital devices with more confidence, they were still doing it with a hint of a doubt. Don’t get me wrong, this does not mean they were at any time using their devices less, no they were actually using them more and more, and that regardless of their country of residence, age and gender, whether they were ‘millennials’, ‘digital natives’, or not.

As far as the members of our communities are concerned, they admit to using their devices to connect to Internet ‘several times a day, as soon as I wake up and up until I go to sleep, mostly on the iPad and the phone’ (Female, 38). They often use different devices according to the time of day ‘I go online on my tablet first thing, and when i shut that down I take the dogs out and when i come back usually go on via laptop and that stays on for most of day’ (Female, 58).

Some are ultra-connected ‘I am often on multiple devices at the same time...multitasking’ (Male, 52); ‘I’m connected all day long, on my professional phone to read my emails, on my personal phone to go on Facebook or look for the news, and in the evening on my tablet’ (Female, 42). Yet even the more occasional user still connects to Internet on a daily basis ‘every day, first thing in the morning, mostly for work’ (Female, 49).

In spite of this daily usage of their Smartphone, tablet, laptop, and PC, to access the Internet, consumers still express concerns about how their personal data is used. That starts to show, notably in France, when asked if they’re particularly concerned about the privacy of their personal data while using their phone on Internet ‘not particularly concerned, but careful’ (Female, 38). In fact, they actually put in the same bag everything that regards their security online, and their personal data privacy ‘No (I’m not particularly concerned), I make sure there’s the padlock symbol for payment, and then I know all my personal data is transmitted, but you know…’ (Male, 33).
Aware of the risks with regards to their data privacy, they take the necessary steps to manage them ‘when I go on Internet I know my data is monetised…you have to tick the right boxes to limit this, otherwise you’re spammed with tons of calls and emails’. It’s a different story when it comes to security and viruses: their Smartphones are not necessarily equipped with an antivirus, as they don’t think it is really useful ‘I’m not sure this is efficient’ (mentioned by 2 women in the same discussion).

In December, we had a couple of online discussions about mobile payments with a group of 30 students in France, aged 22 to 25. Though 95% of them used mobile payments, via in-app payments and pre-paid cards, more than 7 out of 10 did express some kind of concern towards this form of payment: concerns about the safety of online payments when using a Smartphone, the privacy of their personal data, or the risk of not controlling their expenses and budget. Ultimately though, none of these concerns did prevent them from using these apps, to the contrary they were utterly seduced by their convenience and ease of use.

And that probably sums up the ambiguity of mobile services for consumers: they may have mixed feelings about the safety of some mobile systems and apps, or be aware of the risks to their personal data privacy; yet they use these services and apps, more and more, as they are literally addicted to their convenience.

To find out more about the research we carry out in our online communities of teens, young adults and consumers aged 25 to 60, in France & the UK, get in touch at

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