New research by CNBC, the leading business and financial news network, shows that Europe’s business elite continue to embrace the latest smartphones, tablets and devices. However when it comes to using social media in business, while a steady 13% of those surveyed consider social media as ‘essential to business activities,’ a growing proportion 46% now consider social media to be ‘neither useful nor essential’ to their business (up 16% since 2010).
CNBC’s ‘Europe’s Mobile Elite 2013’, an annual study which focuses on the usage of mobile technology and use of social media, shows that although three quarters European business executives believe that they are keeping up with technology change within their sector, less than four in ten feel that their companies are keeping up with technology change.
Device ownership and use
Mobile technology has changed the way business leaders live and work, with 68% of those surveyed agreeing that life is ‘easier’ as a result and 64% claiming that their lives are more productive and enjoyable. Half of all European executives surveyed agree that mobile technology has ‘more influence on global change than countries, governments or corporations.’
The 2013 survey results showed that:
- 90% of Europe’s business leaders surveyed own a mobile device (up 7% from last year)
- Apple ownership has slowed with iPhone ownership growing marginally from 41% to 44% in 2013
- Android handsets showed the strongest year-on-year growth, increasing from 28% in 2012 to 35% in 2013, and a fourfold increase since 2010.
- Almost eight in ten currently have a tablet at home, or intend to purchase one in the next 12 months
- 46% claimed to own an iPad and 12% an iPad mini
- 72% use their tablets for both work and leisure, up from 39% in 2011
- Two thirds now consider tablets to be a ‘useful business tool’, increasing from 39% in 2011 and 59% in 2012
- 75% watch TV at the same time as using their tablet, with nine in 10 of these consumers taking some form of action on their tablet as a result of seeing TV content, including a third responding to TV advertising.
Content accessed on tablets versus mobiles is largely determined by the device, functionality and timing of the information needs. The survey showed that tables are used more in the evening and at weekends, while mobile usage has increased across all day parts, throughout the weekday and weekends.
The top scoring features for tablets include accessing business and financial information (72%), web browsing (70%), news updates (70%), email (69%) and reading newspapers/magazines(69%). Top mobile features and functions differ slightly, with email scoring highest (79%), followed by business and finance (72%), web browsing (70%), news updates (70%) and GPS (69%).
Social Media Use
Membership of social network sites has reached a plateau for Europe’s networked elite in 2013 with 85% claiming to be a member of at least one network (dropping slightly from 87% in 2012). After consistent year-on-year growth between 2010 and 2012, Facebook has now stabilised at 61% (vs. 60% in 2012). LinkedIn membership increased dramatically to 58% in 2013 (45% in 2012). Twitter increased from 38% in 2012 to 43% in 2013. Growth for Twitter and LinkedIn is partly being driven by the increase in take up among existing Facebook users. In fact, 40% of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter users are now connected to all three sites and this has doubled since 2011 (19%).
As the level of understanding of social media continues to improve, the 2013 results show increased usage with 58% of those surveyed using social media for business, up from 53% in 2012. However European executives are forming clearer views on the commercial effectiveness of social media, with views shifting from ‘useful but not essential’ (which represented a 58% majority in 2010) to ‘neither useful nor essential’ which is now the bulk of opinion at 46%.
The study showed that all attributes for the main social media brands declined year on year, with the exception of Facebook, increasing for ‘mainly for leisure use’ from 73% to 75% year on year. Of all statements measured, Twitter registered the greatest year-on-year decline for ‘trustworthy’ among users of each falling from 38% to 15%. Twitter also registered the highest drop for ‘respected brand’ falling from 42% to 25%.
Mike Jeanes, Director of Research, EMEA at CNBC said, "This study shows the huge influence mobile technology has on our lives. Europe’s elite are keeping up with technological change, owning more devices than ever and using each in different ways. In the area of social media and its value in business, the jury is still out and it will be interesting to see where this leads next year."
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