Dolby scientists and technologists spend a lot of time thinking about how to improve the audio experience in mobile entertainment. But to understand the importance that consumers place on mobile audio, Dolby turned to market researchers at Parks Associates. They surveyed approximately one thousand smartphone owners in each of five countries—the United States, France, Germany, China, and South Korea—to help Dolby better understand what consumers value. We shared some of the initial findings with BGR.

Across all countries surveyed, the more smartphone owners used their device for mobile media, the more likely they were to say that audio quality was a “very important” purchase consideration. In fact, 72 percent of heavy users of mobile media said that audio quality was “very important,” compared to just 35 percent of light users.

Another finding held true across geographies: when asked to rate the importance of audio quality when engaging in different mobile media activities, “watching movies” emerged as the activity for which audio quality mattered most.

Interestingly, in the United States, it was those smartphone movie viewers between the ages of 35 and 44 who were most likely to say that sound quality was “very important” when watching films on smartphones (78% of those 35–44, compared to 72% of people ages 18–24; 70% of those 25–34, compared to 62% of those 45 and older).

In France, Germany, and South Korea, it was people between the ages of 18 and 24 who were most likely to rate audio quality as “very important” when watching movies; while in China, it was respondents between the ages of 25 and 34.

Men and women in the United States, France, and Germany were equally likely to say that sound quality was “very important” when viewing movies on smartphones; in China, it was men who were more likely to care about audio quality. South Korean women are more likely to care about sound quality in mobile movies than are South Korean men.

Parks Associates identified a particularly interesting pattern for anyone in the business of developing devices and services for mobile entertainment: while people watching movies on smartphones were the most likely to say that audio quality was a very important aspect of that experience, audio quality was also the area where consumers reported the highest dissatisfaction with sound quality—and that was true across respondents surveyed in all of the countries.