VoIP Growing, But Not Grown Up Yet

    April 17, 2006
    WebProNews Staff

Though awareness of Internet telephony services is significantly higher in the US and Britain for 2005 than the year before, VoIP still has a ways to go for capturing the attention of women and late adopters.

According to Harris Interactive, awareness and/or use of VoIP increased in 2005 from a third to around half in both countries. However, that also means that a large portion of the population is still unaware of the technology.

British (28% vs. 57% of men) and American (34% vs. 62% of men) women are far less likely than men to have heard about VoIP. Among the general population, 41% of British adults and 36% of American adults have not heard of it.

“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,” said Derek Eccleston, Research Director at Harris Interactive.

Vonage is the most recognized Internet telephony brand in the US. In Britain, Skype is the leader. Both companies have a similar schism of awareness between the sexes. Comparatively, the larger telecommunications companies find awareness levels equally as strong among both genders.

Among those that were aware of the service but were not users, around half in both countries expressed at least some interest in the service. Only about 10% said they were “very” interested.

For those who said they were not at all interested in VoIP, the chief objections were:

I don’t make many calls’ (40% in Great Britain, 40% in the United States)

I use my mobile for my calls’ (19% in Great Britain, 29% in the United States)

‘I will always prefer to use my landline’ (42% in Great Britain, 28% in the United States)

I don’t want to talk to my computer’ (28% in Great Britain, 35% in the United States

“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,” said Eccleston.

“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.”