The company's Institute for Business Value surveyed 700 consumers in worldwide markets and found that the early adopters already represent a harbinger of what the mobile Web will look like in future years.
"Clearly the same market forces which empowered consumers to choose personal computers that were open and enabled them to customize their applications are at play in the mobile Web marketplace," said Sungyoul Lee, IBM's global consulting leader, electronics industry, in a statement. "Mobile device makers, confronted by numerous challenges to growth and profitability, need to develop new avenues to expand their core offerings. At the moment, the mobile Internet market is still somewhat fragmented."
The IBM study released earlier this month predicted that nearly 1 billion mobile users will be accessing the wireless Internet by 2011, representing $80 billion in Web services revenue. The figures are based on a forecast that the compound annual growth rate of mobile Web users will be 24% until 2011.
Consumers representing 60% of the survey base told IBM that banking is a desired mobile application. A total of 53% said they want to use mobile TV on their handsets, while 45% said music purchases via handsets are a high priority.
IBM predicted that the mobile Web will be adopted differently around the world: In mature markets, adoption will take place as an extension and complement to PCs, while in emerging markets, consumers will go directly to high-end mobile platforms that deliver services similar to those delivered to PCs. In semiliterate regions, consumers will use low-cost handsets for access to voice and data services.
The IBM report said mobile device makers likely will need to transition their handsets to become more service-driven. The report authors also suggested that the coming transformation in mobile Web usage will require the creation of a scalable and cost-efficient infrastructure to pave the way for a rapid ramp up of services.