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Retailers Are Key Group For CTIA Show

1/30/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

WASHINGTON – CTIA-The Wireless Association, is
setting plans for its show in New Orleans, May 8-10,
and wants to remind everyone that retailers
are a key audience group at the event.

Rob Mesirow, VP/show director of CTIA,
told TWICE that retail is “the largest group
of attendees for our show,” out of an expected
40,000 attendees, “and it isn’t just
to buy new handsets. “Retailers come to the
show to find out about enterprise solutions,
to help operations and generate more sales.
Chains like Best Buy and hhgregg come to
our show, as well as many independents for
those reasons.”

Mesirow noted that “more retailers, rather than only
carrier stores, are selling wireless devices and service
plans than ever before with the largest, not surprisingly,
being Walmart.”

He noted that the challenge for retailers today to offer
“the best service plans and [retail] experiences.”

He added that with wireless devices, especially
smartphones being “far more customizable than ever
before … with 50,000 apps available, retail sales
people really have to know the products
and the features. Customers are far more
educated about wireless than ever before.”

And he noted, “Brick-and-mortar stores
should have an advantage” over online
sales because consumers can touch and
feel the products but the challenge continues
to be having an educated sales force.

To illustrate the changing consumer base
a recent CTIA-commissioned survey by
Qualtrics, revealed surprising responses
from U.S. women about how they are using
wireless technology, choosing their devices, replacing
traditional communication tools with mobile and how
wireless technology is allowing families to spend more
time together and to be better connected.

The results show a pronounced shift to mobile from such communication modes as landlines and desktop computers,
and a substantial favoring of wireless technology for a
wide array of family activities and interactions.

When asked if the respondents were either primarily responsible
or involved in making decisions on wireless devices
and/or services for their family, more than 94 percent
said yes.

Since these women play a leading role in deciding their
families’ wireless technology purchases, CTIA asked what
the most important factors were when they chose their
mobile devices. Thirty-six percent said Internet connection
speed was the most important; 25 percent said the price
of the device (including service plan options); 17 percent
said network coverage; 11 percent said design of the device
(including screen size and shape); and 8 percent said
the operating system.

These answers were similar to those given when respondents
were asked about what the primary factors were when
they chose a wireless device for others in the family. Thirty-six
percent said Internet connection speed was most important;
32 percent said price of the device (including service plan
options); 11 percent said network coverage; and 9 percent
said design of the device (including screen size and shape).

When asked what they thought was the most important
function of their mobile devices, 61 percent said the Internet;
42 percent said text messaging/IM; and 40 percent
said voice. More than 38 percent of women said their mobile
devices were their main access point to the Internet
and almost a third (32 percent) said mobile broadband had
replaced their traditional Internet service.

Almost half (48 percent) of the respondents said that
their wireless phones have replaced their landline as their
primary means of voice communications. Fifty-one percent
of the respondents said they spend between one and four
hours using their wireless devices daily.

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