It seems like the subject of mobile trends is one of the most discussed subject in the last couple of years. The reason is clear: the mobile phone has become an inherent part of our lives, not only due to the massive penetration rate of mobile devices worldwide, but also due to the range and scope of activities performed on mobile devices.
According to GSMA, by 2020, the majority of the world’s population (56%) is expected to have their own mobile subscription. By 2015, eMarketer estimates that 15 countries worldwide will have seen more than half their populations adopt smartphones.
The most common uses of mobile devices today are gaming and content consumption; but trending activities include mobile commerce and payments.
Mobile commerce still constitutes a rather small share of e-commerce, but this is expected to change. Data from eMarketer indicates that U.S. retail mobile commerce sales (on smartphones and tablets, including sales of digital goods but excluding sales of travel services and event and movie tickets) will soar from $42.13 billion in 2013 (16.0% of total web sales of $263.31 billion) to $132.69 billion in 2018 (27.0% of $491.44 billion). Also, mobile devices affect the entire path-to-purchase, and are also integrated into in-store activity, so mobile has major significance for both online and physical shopping. Interestingly, in 2014, eMarketer expects $38.02 billion in sales on tablets compared to $18.49 billion on smartphones; this already exceeds a 2-to-1 ratio. By 2018, 72.6% of m-commerce will take place on tablets, totaling $96.31 billion.
Mobile payment is expected to boom for a number of reasons: one is more frequent transactions as shoppers use their mobile phones to pay for daily goods such as coffee; a second reason is the use of mobile phones to pay for more expensive goods and services as the technology becomes more widespread; more people (especially among Gen Y) prefer to perform peer-to-peer payments via their mobile device that with cash; and more.
It is important to note that mobile technology is no longer limited to the screen: the most important emerging trend in the mobile industry is, in our opinion, the increasing convergence of mobile in our lives, with Wearable Technology (Juniper Research expects worldwide spending on wearable devices to jump from $1.4 billion this year to $19 billion by 2018) and the “Internet of Things”(connected / smart devices, usually interacting with a mobile app), which is becoming mainstream with competitors such as Apple and Google entering this field, already inhibited by electronic and appliance giants such as Samsung, LG, GE and many others. IoT turns the mobile device into an integral part in a variety of day-to-day actions, such as monitoring health, turning on/off electrical devices, remote controlling our home, and tracking the location of family members.
Marketers are searching for ways to grasp opportunities stemming from mobile penetration and usage patterns, first by gaining mobile presence. While apps are currently the users’ favorites due to the easy access and mobile optimization they provide, in many cases browsers take the lead. According to a Google Think study, it is important to properly design a website which is optimized for mobile, either through responsive web design, dynamic serving or separate sites. Google found that the mobile user experience is reliant upon 6 major factors: Speed, Usability, Content, Consistency, Path to Purchase and M-Commerce, and failure to provide these will result in client loss.
Yet apart from tactical design, marketers should consider actual added value which the consumers expect from mobile technology: first and foremost, a seamless, convenient experience, which enables them to save time and/or money; track and control their lives; connect with friends and family; relieve stress; entertain and educate; and enjoy a personalized experience in the mix.