In our recent survey of a nearly 400 college-age people, we collected data on their cell phone usage, including the type of cell phone they own, features used and not used and how frequently, importance of various features, and plans for future purchases. We also examined the influence of social factors in the decision of which cell phone to purchase and which features.
Our findings showed key differences between males and females. Females were far more likely to use and prefer interpersonal communication features (e.g., synchronous phone calls, voice mail messaging, text messages, instant messaging, and photo exchanges) while males used interpersonal options far less frequently. Males were more likely than females to prefer non-human interactive features like downloading music or streaming videos.
We also found that value perceptions dominated purchase decision-making for both males and females. What does a given feature cost given how much I will use it in the context of other choices? Decisions on which cell phone or features to purchase and re-purchase are the result of a complex array of such factors revolving around value.
A third finding is type of use. Value was tied to cost effectiveness when gaining access to features that were most in demand for frequency and duration of use.
We also discuss implications beyond the marketing perspective to include the social implications of an increasing reliance on non-face-to-face communication channels and how such reliance may be leading to the erosion of human relationship building, maintenance, and change.
|Keywords:||Cell Phone Usage, Valued Cell Phone Features, Future Cell Phone Purchases, Social Implications of Non-Face-to-Face Communication|
Chair, Communication Program, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, WI, USA
Professor, School of Mass Communication, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, USA
Doctoral Student, Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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