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.