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VoIP Feature Article


April 11, 2006

Awareness of VoIP on the Rise in the U.S. and in Great Britain

Johanne Torres, TMCnet Contributing Editor

According to a study conducted by research firm Harris Interactive, during the last nine months, the percentage of British adults who know of VoIP or already make telephone calls via an Internet connection has increased from just a little over one-third (37 percent) to nearly half (46 percent.) A similar shift in awareness and use in the United States has been shown from 36 to 51 percent. The firm surveyed 1,089 U.S. adults aged 18 and over and 1,117 British adults aged 18 and over.
Analysts believe that even if the technology is widely popular, there is still 41 percent of British adults and 36 percent of U.S. adults unaware of VoIP. Interestingly, the study found that women are far less likely than men to have heard about VoIP in both Great Britain (28 percent of women vs. 57 percent of men) and the United States (34 percent of women vs. 62 percent of men).
Derek Eccleston, research director at Harris Interactive, comments, "These data suggest that whilst broader marketing efforts may be having success in building awareness of VoIP generally in the marketplace, more targeted communications strategies may be needed to fill the gaps in awareness among various demographic segments."
The study revealed that the leaders in awareness among those adult consumers who are aware of Internet telephony were Vonage (News - Alert) in the United States and Skype (News - Alert) and BT in Great Britain. Amongst the surveyed, Vonage and Skype had higher awareness levels amongst men than women (for Vonage, 54 percent of men vs. 34 percent of women, and for Skype, 58 percent of men vs. 30 percent of women.
Among those adults who do not use Internet telephony, more than half (56 percent) in Britain and about half (49 percent) in the United States said they are at least somewhat interested in it. Among adults in both Great Britain and the United States surveyed who do not use Internet telephony, but are interested in it, substantial numbers say free calls between users of the same provider (53 percent of British adults and 43 percent of U.S. adults) and cheap local/national telephone calls (44 percent of British adults and 49 percent of U.S. adults) would appeal to them if they were to consider making calls via an Internet connection.
"Overall, the market is much more open to VoIP than it was at the beginning of 2005. For now, it is still a service used by a niche audience, mainly male. To tempt a broader range of consumers to try the service, players in the market need to generate greater awareness of the service, explaining what it does and how it works, clearly communicating the key benefits delivered by the service, and find ways to lower the perceived barriers to usage. The most successful companies going forward will be those which deliver the right messages and the right mix of benefits to targeted segments of consumers with the most potential for take-up. Watch out for the winners and losers over the coming months," added Eccleston.
Harris Interactive, Inc.
Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet and Internet Telephony magazine. To see more articles by Johanne Torres, please visit Johanne Torres' columnist page.


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