We wish you a Merry Mobile 04 December , 2012

Gone are the days when children begged for the latest bike or book – today’s younger generation are all about being tech-savvy with the latest mobile devices topping their Christmas wishlist. Santa had better have his elves stock up, as these devices are sure to be in high demand, with kids from as young as six already being ‘mobilised’.
This year’s Sunday Times Generation Next survey reviewed more than 5000 young South Africans between the ages of 8 and 22 on what their favourite products were for 2012. Results from this proved just how popular mobile devices have become with Blackberry voted as the top overall brand for 2012 as well as the top hi-tech gadget. Recent studies have also shown the younger consumer is influencing spend on hi-tech items for around R6 billion a year. These South African statistics are close catching up to the worldwide trend. A recent Nielsen surveyconducted amongst children in the United States saw 48%, of the 3000 surveyed, stating they will ask Santa for an ipad this year. The top uses for these gadgets? Gaming, surfing the internet and social networking.

There was a time when Christmas morning was spent assembling the kids’ Christmas gifts, with instruction pamphlets, diagrams, nuts and bolts strewn across the carpet, and mom realising she had forgotten to buy the 6 x AAA batteries that would instantly animate Junior’s new acquisition. (She’d blame it on Santa’s elves, of course). Nowadays, the confusion comes before Christmas morning as parents try to fathom their way through the marketing clutter and profusion of technical specs and special deals.

To see this brought to life, just visit any of the shopping malls where mobile network operators have their customer service locations and you will be dazzled by the festive marketing. A tip for parents, don’t leave it to the last minute. Shop online or, even better, onmobile and make use of the innovative tools (easy to link to via QR codes) which many brands are now including in their display material, enabling you to use your mobile in store to help with your purchase decision at point-of-purchase. Alternatively, visit sites such as www.kalahari.net or hunt for bargains on the mobile version of bid-or-buy (m.bidorbuy.co.za) to help fulfill your ‘mobi Christmas’ wish list.

“In selecting your Christmas technology fix, be aware that it’s not all about features, functionality and specs, or how ‘smart’ the item is. No matter how technically advanced we’ve become, it’s important to remember that a product must have human appeal. After all, within the breast of the digital native still beats an analogue heart. Follow the beat…,” comments Deseré Orrill, MD of MobiMedia, a boutique mobile marketing agency based in Cape Town.

So what are the top gadget’s your children are likely to ask for this year? Iphones, Nintendo Wii’s, Blackberry’s and tablets are sure to top the wish lists. As a parent all these gadgets can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to the costs. To trim the budget this year, why not buy one gadget the family can enjoy together, like the new Nintendo Wii? It’s also important to remember that like a puppy, mobile devices are not just for Christmas and often you can find yourself locked into a contract for more than a year.

Christmas morning is sure to bring smiles to many the tech-savvy child, but don’t leave yourself out of the game. Buy yourself, or your partner, that ipad or mobile device you have been secretly eyeing. And don’t worry; come Christmas morning your child will be more than happy to help you set it up.

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