The present survey has found that Hong Kong people were generally satisfied with the mobile phone they possessed. Nokia was definitely the most popular brand, followed by Motorola, Ericsson, and Panasonic at a distance. As for network operator, the market leaders were Orange, 1010/One 2 Free/1+1, Smartone/Extra, and then "New World Telephone".
About three-quarters of mobile phone users have changed their phones over the past two years, the average number of change-overs for these users being 2.2, or 1.6 for all mobile phone users, meaning that people would normally change their phone around once every year. The two main reasons for people to change their mobile phone were damage of the old one, and replacement of an outdated style.
"Trendy style" was reportedly the most prominent factor when choosing a new mobile phone, followed by "reasonable price". Most Hong Kong people would simply sell their old mobile phone for money when they changed to a new one.
When left stranded with certain functions of their mobile phone, the majority of respondents would read the user manual on their own. The next two popular solutions were to consult their friends and simply avoid those functions, but they seldom seek advice from their network operator or mobile phone supplier.
In case of phone damage, most of them would visit their network operators while fewer people would go to the mobile phone supplier directly.
Around three-quarters of users were aware of after-market services of mobile phone, and considered them important. The after-market services that consumers needed most were, in descending order, repair services, hotline enquiry services, sale of mobile phones and accessories, and downloading of ring tone/screensaver onto their mobile phone.
To test the matching between mobile phone users' personality and the product they were using, respondents were classified into those who were more responsive to situational cues like social appropriateness and those who were less responsive to situational cues. The classification was made according to respondents' answers to a set of 18 questions. In this study, there were 309 respondents who could be classified as more responsive and 653 as less responsive.
Respondents who were very responsive to situational cues were likely to change their self-presentation according to the situation and were further classified as "high self-monitors," while those who were very unresponsive to situation cues behaved more likely according to their own attitudes, feelings, and attributes and were further classified as "low self-monitors". There were 321 low self-monitors and 309 high self-monitors.
High self-monitors were more likely to have changed their mobile phones more often, and chose a brand and model which was the most popular. Low self-monitors were less likely to have changed their mobile phones.
To further explore the matching between the consumer and the product, two trait dimensions were used, namely, sophistication and excitement. Sophistication can be characterized as being upper class and charming, while excitement can be characterized as being spirited and exciting.
This study found that the way respondents viewed themselves was related to the way they viewed their mobile phone. Those who thought that they were sophisticated and that sophistication was important to them (the "sophistication schematic respondents") rated their mobiles higher on the sophistication dimension. Similarly, those who thought that they were exciting people and excitement was important to them (the "excitement schematic respondents") rated their mobiles higher on the excitement dimension.
In the survey, half of the respondents were asked to imagine themselves participating in an elegant wedding banquet, a situation that could be characterized as being high on the sophistication dimension. The other half of the respondents were asked to imagine themselves participating in a dinner gathering with some fun friends, a situation that could be characterized as being high on the excitement dimension. All respondents were also asked to imagine that they needed to call someone. They were then asked to estimate how likely they will use their mobile in the situation and, assuming that they had used it, how satisfied they would be with the phone.
It was found that amongst high and low self-monitors, sophistication schematic respondents were less likely than sophistication aschematic respondents to use their phone in the sophisticated situation, perhaps because they considered the use of mobile phone in an elegant banquet as a not very sophisticated behavior and therefore were less likely to use their phone. Being more responsive to situational cues, high self-monitors were more willing to use their phone when they perceive their phone to be also sophisticated. On the other hand, usage satisfaction and likelihood was related for low self-monitors in the excitement situation but the two was not related for the high self-monitors.
As for the selection of future phones, regardless of which situation they were asked to imagine, low self-monitors as a group was more likely to prefer mobile phones that were higher in sophistication than excitement, reflecting their lower responsiveness to situations, while, after imagining themselves in an excitement situation, high self-monitors were more likely to select a future mobile phone that was higher in the dimension of excitement, thus reflecting their higher responsiveness to the excitement situation. Such findings on consumer psychology should have important implications for mobile phone designers, if not everyone in the consumer trade.