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The last of the mobile-less

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, September 1999 – August 2014, average annual sample = 21,927 Australians 14+

Remember when your mother would call you on the home phone and you would sometimes let the machine get it and you wouldn’t call back straight away or even that day at all because you could be out even if you weren’t and so there was no way for her to tell you right now about her neighbour Judy and how Judy’s youngest daughter Kate, you know Kate, Judy’s daughter, just got a job that’s the sort of job you used to say you’d most like to do one day?

Remember when payphones went from costing forty cents to fifty cents and that kind of made it easier?  

Remember when you’d plan to meet people at 12:30 and they would all be there at 12:30 because that’s just manners and there was no way anyone could let everyone else know that ‘20 mins sry’

Remember when your mother would end a phone call with ‘I love you’ instead of a text with ‘lol’ because she thinks it means lots of love which always used to make you actually laugh out loud but now doesn’t anymore?    

Remember when you didn’t have a mobile phone and you couldn’t see why you’d possibly ever need one? Remember when we fast approached the new millennium how the majority of Australians (54%) didn’t have a mobile phone but then, suddenly, a year later the majority (56%) did?

In mid-2000, 8,347,000 Australians (14+) didn’t own or use a mobile phone—and 6,630,000 of these non-owners (almost 80%) claimed to have no intention of buying one in the future.

But today, just 1,495,000 Australians (8%) are without a mobile phone. As demonstrated by the chart below, mobile phones were never really something that non-owners were that eager to buy—but over time they nearly all did anyway. Consistently over the years, around 70-80% of those people without a mobile phone have said they don’t ever intend to get one.

Even after the Australian release of the first iPhone in mid-2008, around two million Aussies still maintained they had no plans to get a mobile.

Roy Morgan’s latest data for the year to August 2014 shows there remain around a million hold-outs, with no mobile phone and no intention to buy one, while the pool of non-owners who do intend to (finally) get one has shrunk to a puddle of just 162,000.

Australians without a mobile phone—who intend or don’t intend to get one 

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, September 1999 – August 2014, average annual sample = 21,927 Australians 14+

Roy Morgan’s Technology Adoption Segments categorise Australians into six distinct groups covering the full spectrum of behaviour and attitudes, from those most excited to use new technologies to those most apprehensive, or simply uninterested. Those still without a mobile phone today are most likely to be Technophobes or Technology Traditionalists—however, although women are over-represented in these late adoption segments, it is men overall who are less likely to own a mobile phone.

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

“Less than one percent of Australians don’t have a mobile phone now but intend to get one in the future—a miniscule market for handset makers and telecommunications companies looking to acquire new customers.

“Which is why churn and switching, loyalty, customer satisfaction, plans and prices are today the issues most relevant to the industry. Current owners are today twice as likely as they were in 2000 to say they intend to upgrade their phone, with 44% saying they intent to buy a new phone at some point: around 1 in 3 intend to upgrade within the next two years, including 1 in 8 planning to get a new phone within 6 months. Overall, there are now almost 50 times as many current owners as non-owners who intend to buy a new phone.

“Reviewing past patterns of technology adoption can give tech firms real insight into forecasting uptake of new technologies, whether tablets, Smart TVs, mHealth devices or whatever’s coming next.”

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

Vaishali Nagaratnam
Telephone: +61 (3) 9224 5309

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%