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Unique opportunities of emerging markets - perspectives on value

16 апреля 2009

Sharon Greene’s understanding of emerging markets provides a unique perspective not only on the potential of next generation wireless technology but also on the value that consumers place on that potential.  A Managing Director with RiSC International, a consulting organization that specializes in consumer behaviours, Greene possesses extensive expertise in telecommunications and wireless technologies.  I had the privilege of speaking with Ms. Greene following her recent speaking engagement at CTIA Wireless 2009.

Greene begins our conversation by providing an overview of characteristics of the “BRIC” markets.  BRIC is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China - the four countries cited by some economists as being markets that will evolve to become the world’s most dominant economies by 2050.  Using Brazil as an example, Greene explains that this market represents a “high proportion of advanced users” at 10% compared to 4% in mature markets.  She is quick to ensure that I understand exactly what an “advanced user” is in terms of consumer behaviour.  The definition is straightforward but perhaps not as obvious as I would have expected.  An “advanced user” is simply a consumer who is comfortable enough with technology to employ as Greene puts it, “a multiplicity” of services - someone who will mix and match.

What else is important to understand explains Greene, “is that emerging markets represent lower expectations.”  An emerging market consumer also recognizes that there will be future benefit from his or her investment and is willing to make an effort to use the technology.  What kind of benefit are they expecting?  “Well,” Green says, “imagine that you can use your investment in wireless to save a day and half of walking to visit your doctor, who may not be there when you arrive.”  The example provides me with a clear contrast of what we might see as an advanced user in a mature market who wants to Twitter an exotic vacation.

Speaking of the opportunity for rural broadband in India and Pakistan Green says that “the attitude in this area is very pragmatic.  We see a willingness of the consumer to work hard for their children.”  Life improvements services are the first factors for these emerging markets.  Wireless broadband that can provide basic telephony can bring powerful benefits to families.  Important communications such as determining “which market should I sell my crops at”  or getting an update from your daughter who is now afforded an opportunity for advanced education outside of your village.  Perhaps you’re a motorcycle taxi owner; wireless provides you with a competitive advantage and the opportunity to arrange your fares - a huge benefit over  random chance in a chaotic market.

Where is the point of blockage in the BRIC markets?  Greene offers that she is “not convinced it is the consumer, they have no problem to identify benefits.”  She provides some examples.  “In India we’re still dealing with issues of corruption, government and political influence.”  The value of competition needs to be realized and the “Chinese market will not be stimulated by protectionism.”  While a large emerging market, it is one where leading edge use has been stiffled at 2%.  Remember Brazil at 10%?

So what drives change in emerging markets?   Greene’s observation is that it is rapid social change.  “In the last 5 years we’ve seen shifts unseen before.  The new generation is no longer just a user of technology.  This generation sees technology as an enabler for the ‘transmission of experience’ and that is now driving technology, not social change.”  In closing Greene offers this compelling statistic for consideration, “there are still over 1.1 billion people today who are not connected.”  The wireless industry will do well to focus on, “not basic but relevant services with high added value - health, education and banking for example.”


Story by Andrew Mitchell

Источник: 4G Trends

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