Brands must innovate or die to succeed in mobile
What a year! The mobile industry didn’t stand still for a second in 2013. And the velocity of change shows no sign of slowing. Here are some of the biggest trends we’ve seen…
Consumers switching off PCs and picking up tablets instead
The rate at which consumers have made the switch from PC to tablet has caught many brands and retailers by surprise. Tablets have taken over, and PCs are becoming marginalised in the home for content consumption. For most of our clients, tablets and smartphones now make up between 30-50 per cent of all their traffic.
Mobile is social
The explosion of mobile use for social media globally has been phenomenal this year. Facebook went from zero to $656m in mobile advertising revenue in just the first eight months. This made up 41 per cent of its total advertising revenue in Q2, and rose to 49 per cent in Q3. Besides Facebook, we’ve got Twitter, Instagram (OK, a Facebook company now), Wechat, Line, Kakao Talk, Snapchat – all mobile platforms. Even 75 per cent of Pinterest’s traffic is now mobile and, with Telefonica saying it will pre-install Pinterest on all Android devices sold across Latin America and Europe, the service’s future is most definitely mobile.
Bebo is making a comeback, and in the words of founder Michael Birch in December’s Wired – “It will be more like social media apps Snapchat, WhatsApp and Instagram. And it’s going to be mobile. It’s easier to design on mobile first: it works better and then it’s really easy to go the other way, there’s so much space on the web.”
By its very definition, social media is about communication. People carry their mobile devices with them 24/7, so it’s only natural that mobile is the dominant platform for social.
Mobile for everyday commerce
This year there’s been substantial growth in mcommerce via smartphones. In August, ComScore announced that for the first half of 2013, m-commerce had tipped over $10bn in the US. Previously this has been led by impulse and urgent purchases; now we’re seeing a big drive in mcommerce around everyday purchases. This is partly supported by click and collect initiatives, and partly due to increased levels of trust, acceptance and accessibility, as retailers have started to take advantage of the power of mobile to deliver a mainstream customer experience.
What can we expect for mobile in 2014...
Innovate or die
This year saw several well-known, well-loved brands, (HMV, for example) suffer from a failure to evolve. Next year will see a further tranche of casualties, as companies struggle to keep pace with the speed of change in consumer behaviour. To succeed brands must innovate – not just by building an app for the latest mobile device, but through really considering the effect of mobile on the way their business works.
A big challenge for many brands and retailers has been managing the restrictions of existing internal infrastructure while trying to develop in the mobile space. Legacy systems are holding back innovation for many companies; next year they’ll have to invest in change, or fall behind.
The rise of the connected self
In 2014 we’ll see huge developments in mobile connectivity; connected cars, connected homes, connected stores. This year saw the launch of Google Glass and a host of other wearable devices. In 2014 we’ll see this trend continue: the ‘connected self’ will emerge. As the mobile world embraces the internet of things, brands will face a new range of data and utility opportunities to create engagements with customers.
Disruption in retail
We’ve already seen massive disruption in the retail sector, as stores become showrooms and consumers adopt an omnichannel approach across the purchase journey. 2014 will see even more change. Delivery will be a major battleground for retailers, as customers will increasingly demand super-rapid delivery options and won’t be content to wait.
Finally, loyalty schemes will become mobile-first. Customer relationship management will begin to embrace mobile, with context and location specific push messages.
2014 Prediction in five words
Wearability, Privacy, Connectivity, Innovation, Immediacy.
Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer
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