Connected to the Future

First instalment in a year-long research project to examine ways in which mobile technology is changing how we interact with each other, businesses and government  

Three Ireland has launched the first edition of The Three Connected Ireland Report – a 4-part research project to identify how the Irish public wants mobile services to develop in the future.

Conducted by Amárach Research among 1,000 smartphones users throughout the Republic of Ireland, respondents were asked for their opinions in three key areas: The Connected Business, The Connected Citizen and The Connected Life.

Among the key findings are:

The Connected Business

  • ‘Always on’ shopping: More than three quarters of respondents (76%) use smartphones to shop online once a month, with 22% of 25 to 34 year olds spending between €100 and €500 per month.
  • Buying Irish: Just 42% purchase from Irish websites though, highlighting the significant opportunity for Irish businesses to develop their ecommerce offering.
  • Customer service: 38% have interacted with customer service agents while shopping online via their phone, and 89% found the experience helpful. Mobile network providers, banks and supermarkets fare best when it comes to rating the quality of customer service.
  • Room to improve: Irish consumers want more mobile services that simplify everyday tasks, some of which are already available but are not widely used yet.  6 in 10 would welcome a service that connects their home security system to the internet, controlled by a smartphone.  Almost half (49%) would use their phone to make small payments and over a third (36%) would like their fridge to alert their mobile when certain items are running low.

The Connected Citizen

  • Data Protection: The majority of respondents believe Government and public service providers could make better use of mobile channels for public engagement.  Crucial to this though is the protection of personal information.  61% are concerned about the safety of data held by private companies, while 57% are concerned about sharing data with public services providers.
  • Casting a vote: Given Ireland’s controversial history with e-voting, it’s noteworthy that 44% would use their smartphone to vote in either a local or a general election if it was an option to do so.
  • Crime prevention: There is demand for the introduction of mobile services aimed at enhancing public security.  61% would use a photo sharing mobile service that alerted local authorities to suspected illegal dumping, while 55% would send photos of suspicious people and/or vehicles in their area to local Gardai.
  • Fielding feedback: Over half (58%) would embrace a mobile service to make local authorities aware of potholes or footpath problems in their area.  A similar amount (56%) would take the opportunity to answer a local government survey on their mobile.

The Connected Life:

  • Cutting the cord: Most people still have a landline at home (59%). However, only 45% of 25 – 34 year olds have a landline, compared to 74% for those aged 55+.
  • Keeping in touch: When asked what method they would use to get in touch with someone, 51% of 55+ year olds would call from their mobile with 23% using SMS and 16% using instant messaging. However, just 8% of 16 – 24 year olds would call from their mobile, with 11% sending an SMS and 70% preferring to use instant messaging. Men are more likely than women to initiate contact with someone via a mobile phone call (44% compared to 31%).  However, women are more likely than men to get in touch via instant messaging (38% versus 24%).
  • Sharing is Caring: One in three 16 to 24 year olds find it frustrating if they can’t share an amazing experience with their social media followers.  Meanwhile, 70% of the same age group admit to getting upset if they know someone has seen their message but hasn’t responded.
  • Social life: When asked about their most frequently used apps, Facebook was the most popular social media platform for 55+ year olds (29%) while 54% of 16-34 year olds prefer Snapchat.
  • Perceived value of connectivity: When asked how much money they would want to give up their smartphone, 53% say more than €50 per month, with almost one third (29%) saying over €100.
  • Feel good factor: As a result of using their smartphone, 59% feel connected, 52% feel safe and 50% feel in control.  However, 54% admit that their phone hinders going to sleep.
  • Dating safety: 81% of 16 – 24 year olds and 80% of 25 – 34 year olds say they would try to check out a person they didn’t know online before going on a date.  43% of respondents aged 55+ would do the same.

Commenting on the launch of The Three Connected Ireland Report, Robert Finnegan, CEO, Three Ireland said: “As Ireland’s leading mobile data network, Three Ireland remains at the forefront of Ireland’s digital evolution.  We recognise that what really matters to our customers is the ability to use our network every day to stay connected in all aspects of life – whether as consumers, workers or citizens.

“This research gives us great insight in to the evolution of Ireland’s economy and society through mobility. It also allows us to ensure that we are providing customers with the services that they desire and to help their life mean more through connectivity.”

Part One of The Three Connected Ireland Report is available here.

An infographic on the report is available here.

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