Now that the networks are growing out of their teens, is it time for them to think about a market they’ve largely ignored? Given the current pain that they are suffering from the youth segment’s bandwidth-obese usage of their “eat all you can consume” data plans, you’d think that they might want attract a target audience that offers the prospect of a more reliable revenue stream.
There’s an important conference coming up in London on 26th October that promises to address the issues that have limited success so far – Mobile Phones for the Senior Market. It’s important because there are some fundamental lessons to be learned and things that need to be changed if the networks are to approach the older generation with the same degree of attention that they currently lavishing on their twenty-something users. The resulting challenges need to be addressed, not just by the networks, but also by product designers and retailers.
The mobile phone business is now the largest volume segment of the consumer goods industry. Despite that achievement, it is an industry that is still remarkably young. It’s debatable whether it is actually mature enough to have addressed real segmentation yet – instead it’s still at the stage of development where it tends to concentrate most on customers of its own age – late teens. That could be a costly mistake. By ignoring the specific needs of older users, the mobile industry is missing a major market.