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Communication - it sets us apart; and brings us together

Woman at local shop on her cellphone

Research shows that regardless of our socio-economic position in society we all value communication equally. Our ability to talk to loved ones and stay connected is high on our list of priorities. Having access to mobile communications devices is an investment people all around the world – regardless of income – are willing to make for themselves, or on behalf of their loved one.

In fact, as far back as 2012, Unicef were reporting that north of 10% of monthly income was being spent on staying connected in developing nations. This priority to stay connected, becomes more complex when we consider the unprecedented levels of displaced people around the world. The United Nations estimates that as of 2017, more than 65 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide, with an additional 25.4 million displaced every year due to natural disasters and climate-related events. Staying connected is a growing challenge as more and more people are living further from their homelands. 

The five billion

The discussion is more complicated when we consider that the lack of financial inclusion means that bill pay mobiles are simply out of reach for some five billion mobile users who can only avail of a prepaid option for their usage. To put this in context, almost 90% of mobile phones in emerging markets are of the prepaid variety and keeping those phones topped up can be a daily challenge for users. Highlighted by the fact that some mobile operators report that 25% of these phones are out of credit at any given time. 

The mobile communications market today can be complicated and multi-faceted. Knowing what the user wants and needs, and how they think, is a clear challenge for businesses operating in this sector. To this end, over the coming months Ding plans to get to know the world of mobile users better – and share these findings with you, our partners. For this first instalement, we have decided to keep our first insight close to home and look at how our users view mobile top-up. Specifically, why they do it, how often and how it makes them feel.

What we learned

In order to do this, Ding surveyed more than 2,000 users across the US, Europe, and the Middle East. The vast majority of those surveyed said their number one reason why they are sending top-up was to help them to stay connected with family, with the next reason being the want to send a valuable gift to family or friends. In terms of who our users are topping up – spouse tops the list, followed by friends and family, and coming in a close third was themselves. How often was another question we looked at – and the resounding answer was once per month. 

Finding out what is important to customers is always important - so we asked these mobile technology users just that. Contrary to thinking that price might be the top priority, we found that for this group – security was number one, followed by reliability, ease of use, and fees coming in behind. Perhaps not surprising, in terms of priorities – staying connected to loved ones is their top priority. 

One of the biggest takeaways from this survey was that the more emotional side of decision making cannot be underestimated. Our users surprised us by saying that more than anything else they take great comfort from sending top-up to family and friends and the overwhelming feeling of topping up is that of happiness for them, because it makes their family and friends happy. They also feel useful, because they can support family and friends in this way. 

As the importance of access to data and mobile services grows it is clear that so does the value of a top-up – and the feelgood factor cannot be underestimated. 

*Please let us know if there is something you would like us to look into and we can certainly try for our next edition. 

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