BCG: Mobile Internet generates revenues of €92B in Western Europe

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consultancy, revealed that 17 per cent of consumers in Western Europe would rather give up sex than their mobile Internet service, while at least 50 per cent would go tee-total to maintain access.

In a study of mobile Internet usage in Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy (the EU5) conducted for Google, the consultancy said large numbers of consumers would abandon offline forms of media before giving up mobile internet access, with the only exception being TV services. In addition, 50 per cent of people would give up coffee in favour of wireless web access, and 20 per cent would even shun their car.

Perhaps worryingly, 50 per cent of consumers would also forego exercise in order to keep their mobile internet access. A total of 14 per cent said they are unwilling to give up their mobile Internet access at any cost.

BCG revealed that mobile Internet is an important revenue generator in the EU5 market: today, the sector generates annual revenues of €92 billion ($113 billion), and the figure is tipped to rise to €230 billion in 2017. That gives the EU5 an annual growth rate of 25 per cent, which BCG noted is on par with predicted growth in the U.S. and China.

Mobile apps, content, and services are set to be the main drivers of this revenue growth. BCG noted that cumulative app downloads have hit 200 billion since the first app was developed in 2008. Half of the total downloads occurred in 2013 alone, 20 billion of which came from the European Union.

Other market drivers through 2017 include predicted declines in the average selling price of smartphones, and a general increase in competition in the mobile Internet sector.

"Competition throughout the mobile Internet ecosystem is driving innovation, growth, jobs, and a continually improving experience for consumers and businesses," said Dominic Field, a partner at BCG and author of its study.

Field noted that new Internet usages are emerging as mobile Internet access grows, citing "fields from banking to education and from health care to the delivery of public services."

While the market is largely self-propelling, regulators and law makers have a role to play in ensuring the growth continues "by pursuing proven policy goals that encourage continued improvement in these areas as well as innovation, value creation, and consumer welfare and choice," Field added.

BCG noted that the benefits of mobile Internet in the EU5 markets go beyond the headline revenue figures. The sector has created 250,000 jobs in the five countries, and generated a typical 'perceived' value of around €4,700 with consumers--the amount the public believes mobile Internet access offers them over and above the cost of devices, apps, services, and access.

However, a separate report by Juniper Research highlights some potential road blocks along the way. In a study of 1,000 UK consumers, the company found that 40 per cent are only somewhat satisfied with their current connectivity, compared to 15.2 per cent who reported complete satisfaction, and 12 per cent total dissatisfaction.

Connectivity issues aside, Juniper Research found that 54.5 per cent of UK consumers said online access has changed the way they conduct banking, while 41.2 per cent said connectivity has transformed their social lives through access to social media and online dating sites.

On the flip side, the company said use of connectivity for education purposes remains low, with 11 per cent of consumers in the UK using their web access in this way. Personal health and safety also registered a low rate, at 10.2 per cent.

For more:
- read the BCG press release [via MarketWired]
- view this Juniper Research announcement

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