If your desk drawer — or, more appropriately, your purse — is overflowing with wireless gadgets, you aren’t alone: North American consumers are increasingly owning multiple devices and spreading their mobile budgets across them, according to new figures from Wireless Intelligence, and U.S. women are leading the way. The London-based market research firm found that the average user in Canada and the U.S. had 1.3 cellular connections (either an active SIM card or unique mobile number) in the third quarter of 2009, and 32 percent of U.S. women had more than one connected device — substantially more than the 24 percent of American men who used multiple handsets. Interestingly, those figures essentially were inverted in Canada, where 26 percent of men used multiple connected devices but only 18 percent of women did.
The uptake of multiple handsets has led to a misconception of the mobile market in Canada and the U.S., Wireless Intelligence claims. Not only are consumers spending more on mobile, the market isn’t as close to the saturation point as many believe:
This means that real market penetration in the region stands at 71 percent compared to the reported figure of 92 percent. So whilst reported average revenue per connection appears to be falling year-on-year, average revenue per user is in fact increasing, which means that North American consumers are still spending more on mobile but spreading their spending across multiple connections. Our study reveals that real average revenue per user in North America has increased from $60 to almost $64 since 2006.
Carriers have an opportunity to exploit the market by offering dedicated products and services to segments that are still considered niche, Wireless Intelligence said. Operators should target teens and seniors with family-friendly features like parental controls and localized services to build their businesses as we approach 100 percent market penetration.