Over a quarter of smartphone owners will not use their devices to make phone calls in 2016, according to new research by Deloitte. The broad range of free internet messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat has rendered traditional mobile calls less essential on a day to day basis, as consumers turn to “over the top” apps which negate the need for network minutes.
It’s not just messaging apps which have played a part in killing the phone call. Uber, Seamless, OpenTable, JustEat — all of these services enable you to make reservations and book taxis and get food delivered without having to speak to anyone or leave the house.
While 22 per cent of survey participants said that they didn’t make calls on their smartphones in 2015, Deloitte expect that figure to rise to 26 per cent this year. And the number of “data exclusive” consumers only looks set to grow; almost a third of 18 to 24 year olds in the developed world already fall into this new category.
Social networking on desktop devices is also expected to continue to be edged out. Of the staggering 2.5 trillion photos expected to be shared online this year, almost 90 per cent will come from smartphones. In order to adapt to this changing behaviour, telecoms companies will be required to rethink the data packages on their smartphones, tablets and “phablet” devices, as minutes become an obsolete feature.
In addition to the death knell of the phone call, Deloitte has made the following predictions about the evolution of smartphone use in 2016: