Mobiles top list of ‘must-have technologies’ for Irish

1 Feb 2007

So we do like to talk after all: mobile phones are the must-have technology kit for one third of Irish consumers. Next comes the goggle box with one in four consumers saying they couldn’t survive without TV.

The results come from DigiLife, iReach’s twice-yearly survey of technology usage and attitudes among consumers in the Republic of Ireland.

The company said that the technology dependence varies according to gender and age, with women and younger consumers favouring the phone whereas men and older consumers prefer television. PCs, comprising desktops and laptops, were cited by 12pc of the people surveyed.

Perhaps surprisingly given the hype, MP3 players scored very low on the list of tech toys people couldn’t do without – only 2pc of people cited them in the survey.

Explaining this, iReach analyst Aisling Campbell told “I think the reason for that is we did a nationally representative survey and iPod penetration tends to be among 35s and under.”

IReach conducted the survey by telephone among a sample of 400 consumers.

Interestingly, when compiling the survey, iReach found that the ‘other’ category began to fill up, with many older respondents citing household appliances like fridge freezers and washing machines as their top pieces of technology kit. Campbell observed that this suggests the IT industry sometimes uses the definition too narrowly. “Technology means different things to different people,” she said.

Around three out of 10 (29pc) of mobile phone users in Ireland change their handset every year or at least once a year. Of those who do, iReach found that the most common reason given for upgrading was to have the latest technology. Just over one in 10 (11pc) do so every 18 months and 60pc do so either every year or less frequently than that.

Email remains far and away the most common use for the internet, cited by 91pc of users. Reading the news online was given by 42pc and 34pc said they download music over the internet.

Social networking sites such as Bebo and MySpace are becoming more popular, iReach found. Almost one in four internet users (24pc) said they use the medium to join online communities. Campbell pointed out that the target market for these sites is 15-24 year olds. As such, the nationally representative sample set of consumers for the survey means that these sites are probably more popular than the overall percentage suggests.

“The internet is moving away from being functional, towards being a medium for communications and engaging socially with others,” Campbell commented.

By Gordon Smith