Amdocs Survey Identifies 'Cyborgs,' 'Centaurs' and 'Space Cowboys' as Three Distinct 'Consumer Communities' in the Connected World
Leading social anthropologist provides new insights into global consumer behaviour and attitudes.
- (1888PressRelease) July 09, 2011 - Amdocs, the leading provider of customer experience systems, today announced the results of a global survey commissioned to investigate the driving forces behind consumer adoption of new mobile services and technologies.
Reviewing the findings for Amdocs, social anthropologist Dr. Massimiliano Mollona found that mobile consumers can be broadly assigned to one of three distinct global "consumer communities".
The research, conducted by Coleman Parkes, surveyed over 4,700 consumers of various age groups in 14 countries, spanning North and South America, Europe and Asia and Pacific. Among its key findings is the fact that mobile devices have become a global necessity with 63 percent of all respondents saying they cannot live without their mobile phone. Significantly, 49 percent of respondents regard mobile phone technology as a social enabler that increases their sociability rather than just their employability or ease of contact. Furthermore, optimism concerning future mobile services is extremely strong, with 70 percent of all respondents expecting to be able to do even more on their mobile device.
Dr. Mollona, from Goldsmiths, University of London, also noted that people are increasingly expressing themselves through their connectivity in a form of a "digital badge ," evident in the way people tend to keep their device in their hand and answer calls in crowded places, regardless of whether this irritates the people they are with. Based on this and other data, Dr. Mollona finds that consumers can be broadly assigned to one of three global avatars: cyborgs, centaurs or space cowboys.
- CYBORGS embrace connectivity in all aspects of their life, including professional and personal spheres, across all devices and places, and are the most willing to pay a premium for services. Their phone is their personality and prime social enabler and is their preferred means of communication with both their peers and families. More than other forms of communication, they use their mobile phone to enlarge their circle of social interactions as well as to increase their mobility between professional and personal environments. They are enthusiastic users of social media and online gaming, but also use voice, text and instant messaging to stay in touch. Due to their mobile phone being assimilated into their daily lives, Cyborgs are the most willing to adopt advanced services such as mobile shopping and home services such as monitoring or security. They also demand the best possible customer experience, both in terms of quality of service delivery and the support they receive, and are the most willing to pay for it. Cyborgs are predominantly found in Latin America and developing markets within Asia, such as Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand.
- CENTAURS have firm, fixed distinctions between their personal and "technological" selves and see the mobile phone as a functional device, not a reflection of their personalities. They draw boundaries between places - typically home and work - and between devices. For example, they do not use the same mobile phone for professional and personal use. With their peers and families, they prefer face-to-face interactions to phone conversations while the reverse is true when contacting their service provider. Interestingly Centaurs make heavier use of text messaging because text messages erode the above boundaries in a subtle way, perhaps also explaining why texting remains a popular service despite availability of mobile email. Centaurs have a pragmatic and functional view of technology and switch service providers for purely economic reasons rather than the latest handset or device. They favor price plans that allow them to control their spend, such as all-you-can-eat and prepaid, but are willing to pay a premium for services such as better quality of service or the ability to access content and apps on any device. They are the predominant community in Europe and developed markets within Asia-Pacific such as Australia and New Zealand.
- SPACE COWBOYS are technological nomads who are individualistic and unpredictable and often switch devices and providers for both technological and economic reasons. They seek personalized paths, services and price plans and avoid interconnectivity and synchronicity. They have a functional attitude towards technology, using their mobile phones for their personal advantage rather than for increasing social interaction or connectivity. They are the most willing to be influenced by the service provider, in terms of both the products and services they buy; however they will only pay a premium where they perceive value. This could be in the form of a physical benefit, such as regular device and service upgrades, or emotional benefit such as making their lives easier. This community is most apparent in North America; however there are also large pockets of the other two communities in this region as well due to social and macro factors.
Dr Mollona further analysed the data to provide original insights into human behaviour in the connected world:
• Emerging markets ripe for connected world - Rapid growth of mobility in developing markets has surprised commentators and has traditionally been explained by the lack of an affordable and effective communications infrastructure. Dr. Mollona says this is true but adds that the increasingly strong appetite for new services, particularly social networking, is also driven by human behavioral factors unique to these societies. For example, in Brazil, growth in the connected world is accelerated by the lack of boundaries between private and public worlds and by the fact that Brazil is a performative society where socialization happens in public and relies heavily on conversation and verbal communications. Performative cultures are highly connected ones and mobile phones both reveal and enhance those social connections.
• Mobile phones used for "digital badges"- Based on findings that reveal one in four of all respondents likes taking calls in public, regardless of how much this irritates or surprises other people, Dr. Mollona notes that such behaviour is not to demonstrate wealth or to disconnect users from their surroundings, but is instead a compulsion to demonstrate to others that they belong to a community. Coining the term "digital badges", Dr. Mollona says people are increasingly expressing themselves through their connectivity, which is also evident in the way people tend to hold their mobile device in their hand when not in use..
Dr Mollona adds: "What surprised me from these findings was the extent to which mobility is woven into everyday social behavior across many diverse societies. This has been a rapid transformation and, as this and other studies show, the evolution of the connected world is taking advantage of social and cultural factors that are more influential than is usually presumed. Nonetheless, usage differs among the three communities, and each 'consumer community' has its particular needs and expectations which the service provider has to meet if they are to deliver the desired customer experience and drive up revenues through increased service adoption and reduced churn."
"This study has provided an unprecedented insight into the driving forces behind consumer adoption of new mobile services and technologies and the message is clear - customers demand more from their service providers.
Regardless of community profile, all respondents want offers that match their own unique personality traits and lifestyle in the connected world," said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president of product and solutions marketing at Amdocs. "As competing over-the-top players vie for market share, service providers need to ensure that their systems can support different business models and deliver a personalized experience in order to capture this opportunity."