According to GSMA data (April, 2017), in 2016, 65% of the world’s population had a mobile subscription – a total of 4.8 billion unique mobile subscribers. By 2020, almost 860 million new subscribers will be added, taking global penetration to 73%. And, Google’s “Consumer Barometer” found that 35% of US consumers go online mainly via smartphone, more than via computers / tablet; 33% go online equally via smartphone and computer/tablet and only 21% prefer to use computers/tablets over smartphones.
Mobile has become the key device throughout the omni-channel path to purchase. According to Think With Google, consumers are looking for immediate solutions “right here, right now” and mobile is becoming more relevant than ever as a result. Mobile helps people make decisions. For example, according to Google, mobile searches for “best” have grown 80% in the past two years.
Convenient, seamless experiences and instant experiences continue to be top priority.
We see mobile innovation throughout the entire shopper journey:
- Creating Awareness/ Research & Consideration with location based offers; virtual reality and augmented reality; reviews; and videos.
- Purchase through mobile wallet/ payment apps; mobile service; chats; bots; voice search; and virtual assistants.
- Loyalty & CRM through instant messaging; gamification; and usage of loyalty clubs & coupons. CRM also provides companies with useful data.
Instant Messaging Platforms are evolving into marketing and commerce platforms.
According to GSMA report from 2017, the total user base stood at ~ 3.6 billion at the end of 2016, suggesting that the majority of the just under 5 billion mobile subscribers across the world are using messaging apps.
WhatsApp (owned by Facebook today) was the first messaging platform to reach 1 billion users, subsequently followed by Facebook Messenger.
In the US, text is the preferred communication method, with 50% of internet users prefer to communicate via text messages. Voice comes next, with 37%. Younger consumers are especially fond of messaging apps. Today, messaging platforms allow users to communicate also through voice call, voice messages and video calls, providing the customers an “all in one” platform and thereby reaching as many users as possible.
Instant messaging platforms – and marketers – are responding to this trend.
- Facebook’s Messenger is evolving into a group collaboration platform, helping users share plans and programs. “Messenger Broadcast” is a new self-serve mass-messaging interface that lets businesses send marketing messages to users. And in December 2017, Facebook started rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids in the USA, a new app that “makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can’t be together in person”. In addition to video chat, kids can send photos, videos or text messages to their parent-approved friends and adult relatives, who will receive the messages via their regular Messenger app.
- In March, Instagram rolled out an expanded shopping experience, focusing mostly on apparel, jewelry and beauty products, based on the fact that 80% of its users follow a business account on the network.
Mobile commerce is on the rise.
According to eMarketere, US mobile retail sales are expected to reach $ 156.43bn in 2017 and constitute over half of e-commerce sales by 2021, with $ 335.84bn.
According to Google, shoppers are researching on mobile to determine which stores they should visit to get what they need, more than ever.
The number 1 reason for mobile shopping is convenience.
A ComScore survey found that the most popular feature of a retailer’s app is mobile coupons, followed by high-quality product images and product reviews.
Retailer apps are important for payment, loyalty – and data. Mobile wallet is on the rise, with Apple Pay and PayPal on top.
US mobile shoppers prefer mobile websites over mobile apps across all age groups; however, most consumers don’t have a preference.
For younger consumers (18 to 24 years old), the website option is relatively more popular.
Retailers are increasingly offering apps to maintain a foothold on the consumers’ mobile. 51% of US shoppers in a Fluent/ eMarketer survey (Jan. 2017) said they make the majority of their mobile purchases through apps, while 49% said they do so on mobile websites.
Voice search gains popularity.
Thanks to the vast improvement in the quality of digital voice assistant like Siri, we can see users starting to prefer voice search. According to a survey made by Fivesight Research, 13% of iOS respondents use Siri as a primary search engine; and 72% of all respondents (Android and iOS) reported they used virtual personal assistant in their smartphone. According to Think With Google, in the Google app, 20% of searches are now by voice.
Video plays a major role in mobile, increasing in the path to purchase.
Thus, globally, video experienced a 35% increase in 2017 in viewing on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) to 28.8 minutes a day, while viewing on fixed devices (desktop PCs, laptops and smart TVs) will rise by just 2% to 18.6 minutes a day (Zenith).
Location based ads is another growing trend
According to LMBA (Location Based Marketing Association), Mobile Location-Based marketing creates deeper and personal relationships with customers.
A survey by LMBA found that 25% of the marketing budgets are spent on location based marketing and “more than 50% of companies say they use LBM to target customers, and that number is predicted to increase significantly in 2017.”
Location-Targeted mobile ad spend is forecasted to reach $ 32bn in 2021, compared to $ 12.4 bn in 2016, per BIA/Kelsey Industry watch.
A “Mobile First” strategy is more important than ever. It requires more than merely transferring a general e-commerce experience into a mobile format as it is more instant and local, and it enables leveraging of the mobile device’s features, such as the camera. Proximity, personalization and loyalty are the three key themes for mobile in 2018.