Kiwis lag in uptake for location-based services in smartphones

Kiwis lag in uptake for location-based services in smartphones

But lead the way in demand for mobile banking services across all demographics, according to global survey.

An international study of mobile-phone use claims to show New Zealanders are high users of smartphones, but are comparatively low in their use of the phones’ more advanced features such as location-based services (LBS). However, questions on future intentions show that is likely to change – that LBS use is set to grow markedly in the near future.

Currently only 7 percent of New Zealanders use LBS on their phone daily compared to 19 percent percent globally, says the Mobile Life Study, by global consultancy firm TNS.

Their use is primarily for navigation. However, an additional 20 percent of New Zealanders who don’t currently use LBS are very interested in doing so, the survey has found. The potential for growth of LBS in New Zealand provides local business, especially those in the hospitality and tourism sectors, with an opportunity to target consumers directly, the consultancy says..

“We are really starting to see location based services ‘come of age’,” says TNS New Zealand director David Thomas. “People are realising that sharing their location often offers some kind of reward in terms of a discount or deal. It is the combination of time and context – directing people towards a deal when they can easily redeem it – that unlocks a powerful tool for marketers to develop precise targeting approaches,” Thomas says.

The annual Mobile Life Study explores the behaviours, motivations and priorities of mobile use among 48,000 people in 58 countries. The latest study found New Zealanders own approximately five technology devices on average. Mobile usage in New Zealand is becoming increasingly data-based rather than voice based, creating an opportunity for mobile internet and Multimedia Messaging Service applications for business, TNS says.

Smartphone technology is also having a significant impact on commerce conducted through mobile devices (M-commerce).

In New Zealand there is strong demand across all demographic groups for mobile banking services, and this is expected to grow in the future, TNS has found. Currently 28 percent of New Zealanders are using mobile banking - double the global average. In addition, a further 39 percent of New Zealanders are interested in using mobile banking services, the survey says.

While use of mobile electronic wallet services in New Zealand is currently low (6 percent), there is potential for growth with 42 percent of Kiwis surveyed stating they are interested in such services.

“The results of our study show that mobile banking growth will be driven by solutions that facilitate easy access to accounts, buying phone credit and paying utility bills, for example,” Thomas says. “The freedom to access banking services on the go, as well as the convenience are major drivers of mobile banking solutions, and financial institutions need to be aware of that.”

The key findings of the Mobile Life study are available at

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