InComm, a leading payments technology company, today released its “Consumer Pulse: Wireless” report on the mindset of prepaid wireless consumers. The report found that more than half of prepaid wireless phone users surveyed identified plan-specific features, such as unlimited data and minutes, as the top factor determining their choice of provider. Results also indicated that plan features outweigh plan price alone in purchasing decisions, with only 28 percent of respondents identifying cost as the most important factor when selecting a prepaid wireless plan.
“This finding reinforces the fact that prepaid wireless user demographics are evolving, which means providers must re-evaluate their strategies to attract and keep customers,” said Jeff Kiedrowski, Senior Vice President and General Manager at InComm. “Prepaid wireless plans are more than a cheap purchase for cash-preferred consumers; in fact, a third of the prepaid wireless users surveyed have an income of $50,000-$100,000. These are savvy shoppers looking for wireless plans that free them from overages, unexpected fees and other commitments while also providing convenient payment options and robust plan features at a reasonable price.”
The Consumer Pulse consists of survey and focus group data regarding consumer attitudes in the wireless market, including how they prefer to learn about the latest offers and promotions: 26 percent of consumers prefer physical displays in retail stores, while 39 percent of consumers prefer finding information digitally, either through online research, e-mail or social media.
Additionally, 25 percent of respondents also reported finding plan information through web browsing, followed by direct from carriers or via word-of-mouth. This range of preferences emphasizes the breadth of channels that prepaid wireless providers must leverage to reach customers. However, such investment will assist providers in building long-term relationships with repeat customers, as 89 percent of consumers said they purchase airtime at least once a month, and 69 percent of consumers say they rarely or never change their carrier.
Broadening Top-Up Options
InComm’s Consumer Pulse found that consumer preferences for airtime purchasing do not align with the methods they regularly use, which presents an opportunity for both merchants and providers to improve their payment options and create a more seamless shopping experience. Consumers reported their top three preferred methods for handling airtime purchasing as Instant Top-up, reusable cards and PIN Top-up (PIN-on-receipt). However, consumers also indicated that the most common method they actually used for recent purchases was single-use cards – a disconnect that highlights an opportunity for merchants to provide and advertise the more sought-after payment methods.
“Even though we’re living in challenging times, consumers are relying on their carriers more than ever to stay connected to work, family and friends. Although they have indicated a preference for innovative payment options such as Instant Top-up, reusable cards, and PIN Top-up, they often end up limited by the availability of these methods,” said Kiedrowski. “Merchants that offer these more in-demand options may have to revise their approaches to raising consumer awareness of available top-up options. For merchants that don’t offer these solutions, consideration should be given to launching PIN Top-up (e-PIN) and Instant Top-up products for online sales to meet current demand.”
To view the full “Consumer Pulse: Wireless” report, click here.