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Internet vs mobile services: comparisons of gender and ethnicity

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to investigate US consumers' adoption of mobile services from the perspectives of channel extension (mobile vs internet) as well as with considerations of ethnic and gender difference. Specifically, this paper examines the effects of gender and ethnicity in consumers' current usages in different types of mobile services, the relationships between consumers' current internet and mobile service usages, and how current usages of internet and mobile services predict future intentions to use mobile services. Design/methodology/approach ‐ Online survey method was employed to collect the data. A total of 492 responses were obtained from current mobile users. Findings ‐ The mobile services most (e.g. sending and receiving text and picture messages, checking e-mail) and least used (e.g. gambling, educational services) were similar between both male and female respondents, yet male respondents showed a higher use of mobile services. Among ethnic groups, African Americans were the most engaged users of all mobile services, and European Americans were the least engaged. In certain service categories (e.g. informational services related to business/finance), both gender and ethnicity were shown to have significant effects on consumers' current usages of both the internet and mobile services and intentions to use mobile services. Practical implications ‐ Gender- and ethnic-specific marketing strategies should be based on the types of mobile services. Special attention should be paid to African Americans that have expressed great interests in using the services that are offered through mobile devices (e.g. informational services related to health and business/finance, payment/billing services, and purchasing products). Understanding current internet use of each mobile service is a key to the success of the potential use of mobile services. Originality/value ‐ There is a lack of previous research addressing consumer issues relevant to specific types of mobile services. This paper provides a meaningful insight into consumer adoption of various types of mobile services from the perspectives of channel extension (mobile vs internet) as well as ethnic and gender difference.
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Keywords: Gender; Internet; Mobile communication systems; Race; Telecommunication services; United States of America

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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