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Smartphone users making video calls when their dearest aren’t nearest

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2013 –June 2014 n = 4,555 Australian smartphone owners 14+

Smartphone users (14+) born overseas are almost twice as likely as those born in Australia to make video calls on their phone, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Just 11.3% of Australian-born smartphone users made video calls in an average four weeks in the year to June 2014, compared with 21.8% of smartphone users born overseas.

Asian-born Aussies are the most likely (28.3%), followed by those from the South Pacific Islands, including New Zealand (27.9%), and North or South America (27.0%).  

Overall, via a widening range of apps including Skype and Facetime, 1 in 7 smartphone owners now make video calls, up from around 1 in 8 a year ago.

% of smartphone owners who make video calls

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, July 2013 –June 2014 n = 4,555 Australian smartphone owners 14+

Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments categorised Australians into six distinct groups covering the full spectrum of behaviour and attitudes, from those most excited to use new technologies to those most uninterested (or apprehensive). Australians born in Asia are the most likely to be Technology Early Adopters (24%, compared with 18% of the total population) or social media obsessed Digital Life (19%, compared with 13% overall), while those from North or South America are the most likely to be classified as Professional Technology Mainstream (30%, compared with 17%). People born in Europe, including the UK and Ireland, are the most likely to be Older Tech Explorers, who enjoy new technology but are cautious about spending too much on it, or Technology Traditionalists, who wait until technology is totally mainstream (36% combined vs 33% of the population). Although Australians from the Middle East or Africa are the most likely to be Technophobes (22% vs. 19%), an above average proportion of them are also Technology Early Adopters (20%) or Digital Life (15%).

These correlations between area of birth and video calling or technology adoption are also related to age. That is, Australians born in Europe are more likely to be older, and therefore more technologically cautious overall, than those born in Asia, the Americas, or the Middle East.

Tim Martin, General Manager - Media, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Remember when just about every movie or TV show set in the magical future of the new millennium included people talking via video phone? Well today, despite the ready availability of such technology on smartphones, it’s far from becoming a mainstream activity.

“The gap in uptake between people born in Australia and those born overseas clearly indicates that video calling is a valued tool for people with loved ones living far away, but isn’t catching on for everyday conversations.

“Vodafone is overwhelmingly the most popular mobile service provider among overseas-born smartphone users. In fact, 44% of Vodafone smartphone consumers were born overseas, compared with just 16% of Telstra and 22% of Optus.

“Of the mobile virtual network operators, TPG and Amaysim are also popular with smartphone users born overseas, as are the smaller, often pre-paid, providers like Lebara and Boost.”

To understand how to reach Australians with different technology usage habits and attitudes, contact:

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309