SAN BRUNO, CA — Devicescape, the leader in device WiFi, revealed results from its first quarter 2011 WiFi Report today, underscoring again the critical role connectivity plays in our everyday lives. This quarter’s report highlights the importance of WiFi while shopping and traveling by air, and sheds light on brand loyalty among iPhone and Android enthusiasts. The survey queried a cross-section of Devicescape’s members — a group of 1,088 respondents that includes a variety of professionals and students.
Key findings from the “Q1 2011 Devicescape WiFi Report” showed:
Shoppers welcome WiFi in retail stores
In past WiFi reports, we saw demand rise for WiFi connectivity in cafés, hotels and airports. Now, demand has migrated to retail outlets. This quarter, 91 percent of respondents believe all shopping centers and retail stores should provide free WiFi, and a full 80.5 percent stated they are more willing to shop at one offering WiFi.
The expectation of connectivity has indeed changed buying behavior as well. Rather than bringing companions along on shopping trips, 68.8 percent of respondents said they would use WiFi connectivity in a retail store to show friends in real time what they were planning to buy. Certainly, these days, busily tapping away on a smartphone may indicate more than just dialing a friend’s number for an opinion on a pair of shoes. Upon entering a WiFi zone in a retail outlet, connected shoppers may be sent any number of promotional e-mails or notifications, and a large faction of respondents would welcome them. Almost 42 percent said they would want to receive a coupon of the day (as long as no spam e-mails were involved). A further 65.4 percent would use their smartphones to sign up in real time for club cards, free memberships and coupons while shopping.
While promotions sent via WiFi were welcomed, respondents stopped short of supporting interaction with other shoppers while browsing. Almost 65 percent rejected the idea of some form of social networking with other buyers in the store who are interested in the same or similar purchases. Clearly, despite its ubiquity in today’s society, social networking has not quite made its way into every American pastime, especially while shopping.
WiFi availability not enough to lure frequent fliers
As mentioned previously, past quarters’ reports have indicated the popularity of WiFi in airports. In the first quarter of 2010, for example, 47 percent of respondents said airports were the most widely used hotspots outside of the home or office, right behind cafés and hotels.
This quarter’s report takes the WiFi/airport question a step further, asking whether WiFi availability and pricing affect which airline respondents choose for air travel. Although almost 65 percent felt WiFi availability was a nonissue, almost one-half of respondents said they’d rather pay a flat fee for WiFi use on a plane, indicating that WiFi accessibility is still top of mind while traveling.
Brand loyalty doesn’t necessarily transcend costs, hot spot availability
Since the introduction of Android as a competitor to iPhone, there has been much debate over which brand offers the best functionality, the best look, the best apps, and so on. But when asked whether a reduction in data plan cost would prompt a switch from iPhone to Android (or vice versa), 49.7 percent of respondents said they’d consider it. Likewise, 47.2 percent of respondents indicated they’d switch from their current phone to the Verizon iPhone to take advantage of Verizon’s hot spot capabilities.
Although brand won out over data plan costs or hot spot capabilities by a very slim margin, gym memberships were not even that lucky. When asked what expense would go first in the wake of a financial hardship, 64 percent of respondents said they would ditch their gym memberships before their home WiFi or their smartphones.
“Connectivity is simply critical to everyday life, as evidenced by the demand for WiFi in our homes, shopping centers, airports, businesses, parks, cafés — you name it,” said Dave Fraser, CEO of Devicescape. “Wherever there is a need to interact with another human, there is a need for connectivity. This is why such importance is placed on how we deliver that connectivity — whether over 3G or WiFi.”
Devicescape will continue to deliver information about WiFi usage and consumer behavior quarterly via the “Devicescape WiFi Report.” Devicescape encourages the public to submit questions for future surveys by sending them to: DevicescapeWiFiReport@devicescape.com.
Devicescape WiFi Report Methodology
Devicescape polled 1088 WiFi users, representing a cross-section of Devicescape’s overall membership. The survey questions were developed by Devicescape and a cross-section of industry WiFi leaders. Devicescape members include a wide array of working professionals from a variety of industries as well as students in the United States and around the world.
With more than 3 million members, Devicescape is the leader in Easy WiFi. The company has worked with original equipment manufacturers and service providers since its inception. Devicescape’s Easy WiFi enables anytime, anywhere, any network WiFi access.
Devicescape is the leader in device WiFi. The company has worked with device manufacturers and service providers since its inception and has hundreds of design wins in the best WiFi products. Easy WiFi allows for the creation of superior products which are powerful, yet easy to use and compatible with a global network market.
Headquartered in San Bruno, California, the company is privately held and backed by leading venture capital companies including Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, August Capital, Enterprise Partners, and JAFCO. To learn more, please visit http://www.devicescape.com.
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© MarketWire 2011
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