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Consumers’ Purchasing Habits Have Large Environmental Impact

London, UK – March 21st 2005 - In a recent survey of 20,000 consumers worldwide, a GMIPoll found that mobile phones’ latest models are the most coveted in 20 of the world’s top economies including the USA, UK, China, Russia and India. When consumers were asked what technology they most frequently upgraded, 63 per cent cited mobile phones.

The proportion of consumers who are swapping older for the newest models is highest in the fastest growing and potentially largest markets, for mobile services, including Asia and South America. Almost 75 per cent of consumers surveyed in India and China said they upgraded their mobile more frequently than any other technology. And in South America 67 per cent. This compares to 47 per cent of American or 38 per cent of French consumers, for example.

This and other findings highlight how new consumer technology products are transforming markets worldwide, but also adding to a growing environmental problem of the waste generated by the old technology being disposed of for the latest and greatest models. By 2005, 100 million mobiles weighing approximately 250,000 tons will be thrown out annually in Europe alone. Disposed mobile phones are growing faster than the volume of waste overall, according to recycling experts ( Toxins associated with this waste include heavy metals and poisons such as arsenic, lead, and mercury.

“A lot of the international attention on e-waste focuses on legislation when the answer could be in product design” comments international marketing guru Allyson Stewart Allen, director, International Marketing Partners “There is an opportunity for marketers to tap into ‘Generation Eco’ the young green early adopters that are tech savvy and planet conscious. Marketers should explore designing responsible products that will retail at a premium. Additionally recycling programs such as the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association’s pioneering partnership with Planet Ark are role model examples of excellent ‘problem solution’ marketing at work.” Stewart-Allen adds.

However, despite the media alarmism environmental concerns appear to be having little or no impact on making people think twice about replacing their mobile phones with new models. According to the GMIPoll results, only nine percent of American consumers and 12 percent of UK consumers take environmental impact into account when upgrading new technology. However in other parts of world, namely India and China - 20 and 26 percent respectively - said environmental reasons could prohibit them from upgrading.

The GMIPoll found that the overwhelming factor in buying a new model mobile devise is cost and contract terms, with 79 percent of consumers surveyed saying this would stop them from upgrading. And in India and China, the major factor was also cost when deciding to upgrade.

Full findings from the Poll can be found at:

About GMIPoll
GMIPoll quickly and accurately gathers international opinions about topical issues and critical global events, with real-time results available in as little as 24 hours. GMIPoll is the only survey that polls global opinions in real time, on-line, and with statistically accurate results.
More information on GMIPoll is available at

About GMI
GMI provides integrated solutions for market research. The company’s advanced software, Net-MR, is a fully integrated net-centric suite of software tools used to manage and automate research throughout the project lifecycle, across the globe. Additionally, GMI’s highly profiled, double opt-in panels offer a single-vendor solution for global sample. One of the worlds largest actively managed panels, it contains 200 country panels, more countries than any other supplier. With operations on five continents, GMI is the partner of choice for conducting global market research at the speed of the Internet.
More information on GMI is available at

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