According to a recent report by the Pew Center, approximately 25% of American adults own a tablet. That number marks a 21% increase from the summer of 2010. And what about smartphone ownership? That number is currently resting at 45% and growing, with the highest concentration living in households earning $75,000 or more. People are looking beyond computers and wifi hotspots to stay connected with the world.
“This is an important moment in the evolution of mobile as it is no longer communication or smart communication,” Brian Solis wrote in his personal blog. “Mobile is causing a fundamental shift in society where they are evolving into connected consumers. This connected mindset is empowering as people take advantage of on-demand access to not just information, but other people, opinions, shared experiences, and a bevy of apps and resources to help make more informed and efficient decisions than ever before.”
Mobile has transformed the way that people shop, bridging the divide between online and in-store consumerism. At any given moment, smartphone owners have access to a wealth of information and resources to make educated decisions. Product reviews, testimonials, and competitor products are only a touch away. Advice from a friend? All shoppers have to do is send a quick picture, email or text. As you’re developing your mobile strategy, here are the top key trends to watch:
Even though a large proportion of consumers are smartphone owners, big companies lag behind. According to a Social Media Today blog post, 79% of Fortune 500 companies still do not have a mobile optimized website. This trend is creating a mismatch between businesses and consumers, especially in industries where mobile makes sense.
For instance, according to a recent comScore study, one-fifth of smartphone owners made a hotel or airfare reservation from a mobile device. Travel is an area where strong opportunities exist for companies to meet consumer demand. Retail is another industry where the opportunity exists to get creative with brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.
Consumer demands for enhanced mobile experiences are only going to increase. More than half of all new phones purchased this year were smartphones. By 2013, 50% of all cellular devices will be smartphones, so expect your mobile customers’ expectations to be much higher.
Constant social connections
“Social media is happening in real time and people share content when it’s happening,” Mart Proom wrote in the DreamGlow blog. “As more people get smartphones and tablets, sharing content will move towards mobile devices. Smartphones give us extra depth into personalization – we can share what we want, when we want.”
Social media gives consumers instant connections to their peers and networks. Retailers should be prepared to see this trend grow in the mobile space. Instantaneously, people can reach out to their Facebook and Twitter communities to share interesting products and ask for advice. Through social, people will always be shopping alongside their friends and family. The days of isolated brick-and-mortar experiences will be approaching their end.
Mobile consumers are all about business. They take advantage of every brain-break opportunity and moment of downtime to get things done. Expect your mobile consumers to be information-driven and very much to-the-point – they never have time to waste and are committed to making every moment count. This consumer need is a high-potential area for retailers.
“Retailers…have jumped into mobile with some of the best intentions but have not realized the revenue or customer interaction gains they hoped to achieve,” Solis wrote. “What is holding them back are that the efforts in these organizations are not clearly focused on serving business needs or actual consumer pains.”
Businesses will thrive on mobile platforms by aligning efficiency with efficiency.
A mobile strategy needs more than just a mobile website to succeed. Businesses need to understand how mobile consumers are evolving from a holistic perspective. What do they need most? What are their pain points? Remember that a mobile strategy is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.