Black Box’s recent study shows some interesting consumer trends among Singaporean mobile users.

With an increasingly vibrant smartphone landscape, Singapore is fast becoming the most mobile-saavy population in the South-east Asia region. The smartphone ecosystem in Singapore has also grown to be incredibly sophisticated, leading to telcos and consumers brands watching the smartphone trend more closely than before.

A recent study condudcted by Black Box between 500 Singaporeans presents comprehensive findings on smartphone penetrations, dominant brands, telcos, 3G usage and customer satisfaction.

Singaporean Smartphone Ownership

Out of the 500 who were surveyed, 88% owned smartphones. Those aged 25-39 years had the highest levels of smartphone ownership at 92%, whereas those aged 55 and above had the second highest levels of percentage at 83%.

Amongst all these smartphone owners, the iPhone is a market giant at 73% share. Despite Samsung’s recent rise as the world’s number 1 handset maker, Andriod handsets still lag behind at 17%. Followed by other type of smartphones (Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile) capturing only 8% of the market.

Demographics of Smartphone Owners

An interesting finding noted that there was a spike in smartphone ownership amongst consumers who possessed $8-$12k monthly household income and those under senior management.

Out of the 73% who used iPhones, 82% of them belonged affluent heartlanders living in HDB 5 room flats and Executive Condominiums. 77% of those using iPhones were also found to be females.

Out of the 17% who use Andriod-based phones, 23% of them belonged to those who lived in HDB 1-3 room flats. 23% of them were also of 55 years old and above.

Telco Smartphone Subscription

With 3G subscriptions taking up 75% of all subscription, Singtel, Starhub and M1 have been fighting to get a significnat share of the lucrative smartphone market. Singtel stands as the dominant player at 42%, while Starhub and M1 have 33% and 25% or market share respectively.

Demographics of Telcos Subscribers

Findings have shown that Singtel successfully captured the youth and higher affluent market with 49% of users possessing $8-$12k monthly household income and 55% of users aged 24 and below.

M1 and Starhub showed more success amongst heartland Singaporeans. 34% of M1 users lived in HDB 1-3 room flats and 35% of them have professional qualifications.

40% of Starhub users lived in HDB 4 room flats and 41% of them only had a secondary education and below.

User Satisfaction

Participants were also asked to rate five features of telco services that there were most unhappy about.  These five features were current pricing plans, customer service, terms and conditions of phone contract, 3G reception and speed, and oversease data roaming charges.

M1 stood with the highest rating for customer service at 40% of customers giving them an excellent rating of 7-10. Starhub scored the worst of its 3G reception, with 37% of customers giving them an unperforming rating of 0-3.

However, 49% of all the smartphone owners surveyed indicated that they were most unhappy about the cost of overseas roaming data.

Wi-fi vs 3G networks Usage

Results of the difference between time allocated on Wi-fi and 3G networks usage were not significant. Most smartphone users spent 55% of their time on 3G usage and 45% on Wi-fi.

It’s no surprise that Wi-Fi usage is so popular. Both iPhone and Android users are widely encouraged to use Wi-Fi over 3G networks for longer battery life and faster connection speeds.

58% of those who spent longer on 3G networks were more likely to rate their 3G connections as less than satisfactory.

For further details about the survey findings, go to