The Growth of the Global Mobile Internet Economy

The Growth of the Global Mobile Internet Economy

          
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The Growth of the Global Mobile Internet Economy

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    Consumers Win Big

    The revenue numbers measured in the previous chapter are large. But they pale in comparison with what must be considered the real value of the mobile Internet: what all this activity is worth to the end user. Consumers worldwide are the big winners here. And the margin of victory runs into the trillions of dollars.

    The mobile Internet’s total annual consumer surplus across the 13 countries surveyed is approximately $3.5 trillion. On a per capita basis, the average annual surplus is about $4,000, seven times what consumers pay for devices and access. (See Exhibit 4.)

    exhibit

    The largest aggregate consumer surplus is in the U.S. ($827 billion), followed by China ($680 billion) and Japan ($462 billion). Among developing nations, Brazilian consumers enjoy a surplus of $169 billion, which is only slightly less than that of consumers in the major European economies of Italy ($188 billion) and France ($184 billion)—and is more than the consumer surplus in Spain ($146 billion). On a per capita basis, consumers in Japan, Germany, France, and Australia all enjoy mobile Internet surpluses of more than $6,000 per year. Across the 13 markets surveyed, Android is responsible for 58 percent of the total surplus and Apple, 29 percent, reflecting Android’s popularity in most developing markets. (See Exhibit 5.)

    exhibit

    Consumers use their mobile devices for a wide variety of purposes. The most valued feature is still phone calls, but this is followed closely by Web browsing, searching the Internet, and e-mail. Mapping capabilities, social networking, and financial functions are also very popular. (See Exhibit 6.)

    exhibit

    It’s no exaggeration to say that consumers everywhere have come to depend on the mobile Internet. Whether it’s for communication, consumption, commerce, or information, they are loathe to give up the capabilities that the mobile Internet confers. Large majorities would forgo most offline media (the one exception is TV) before forgoing mobile Internet access. Substantial majorities are also willing to give up such luxuries as fast food, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and movies. (See Exhibit 7.) A significant minority of consumers are not willing to give up their mobile Internet access at any price. As one person put it, “The Internet is part of my body. I feel the Internet running in my blood. I’d rather give up something else than this.”

    exhibit