What’s next for Mobile? Future predictions for 2015 (Part 1) close

Beth Gladstone
Beth Gladstone
In Online Innovation
6th January 2015
What’s next for Mobile? Future predictions for 2015 (Part 1)

If there’s one thing businesses have been told (or rather, warned) to work on this year, it’s their mobile strategy. Digital agencies have been talking about this shift for a while, reflected in a ‘mobile-first’ approach to design and an uptake of responsive website services. Unfortunately, not everyone has adhered and we’re already seeing the effects of traditional outlets who may have begrudgingly adopted digital, but fell down on mobile, losing customers in an increasingly mobile-first world.

For businesses, mobile opens the market to find new and exciting ways to change the lives of their customers. Digital technology has the power to make us more productive, connected, happier, more efficient and more intelligent. And a shift to mobile means that the benefits are open to more people and communities around the world, not just those who have access to a desktop PC. For consumers, it allows them to access everything on-the-go, with minimal inconvenience.

As a result, we’re all looking to see what’s next and how the changes in mobile will affect the wider landscape. To look at some of the areas in more detail, we've summarised some of the key points from a slideshow put together by BI Intelligence, in order to highlight the markets that are growing due to the trends around an increasingly ‘mobile’ consumer.

The Mobile Apps market is booming

Having developed mobile apps ourselves for many years, it’s clear to see that the market, despite being overcrowded, still holds a great amount of potential. 86% of all time currently spent on iOS and Android connected devices is currently spent using apps. The majority of which (32%) is on gaming, while social media accounts for the next largest sector (17% on Facebook, and 9.5% on other social media network apps), with the rest of the time split between utilities and productivity apps.

Social media and music have already become two primarily apps-based mobile channels and many other categories will undoubtedly follow. According to the study, gaming apps are also becoming less dominant, while the popularity of non-gaming apps are swiftly growing.

The Apple Appstore did 10 billion dollars in app revenue in 2013 and independent developers are seeing revenue increase, primarily from the ‘freemium’ apps model, that we ourselves use for our children’s apps brand, Kizzu. This model allows a user to download the app for free and then ‘upgrade’ or gain access to more content/further features with an in-app purchase. This accounted for 98% of Apple app store and Google Play revenue in November 2013, suggesting that we’ll be seeing more of this model, as opposed to ‘pay to download’, in 2015.

Mobile Commerce is the biggest revenue generator

According to the study, mobile commerce is dominating all other forms of mobile revenue growth, including mobile web ad spend. Mobile commerce still only accounts for less than half of ecommerce sales but is growing much faster than desktop-based commerce when compared year-on-year in the US. The report shows that shoppers spend nearly as much on mobile orders as they do on desktop, which says a lot about how much the quality of mobile user experience has improved over the past few years - it wasn't that long ago that we were struggling to press the right product and squinting to enter payment details on the majority of mobile sites, after all. It also shows the importance for ecommerce brands to invest heavily in the quality and design of their mobile sites - or risk missing out on a large and willing, mobile audience. Even within our own portfolio of products, we can see that our latest joint venture in Etail Naturally Selina Scott, where the audience is typically those in the older age bracket, of 40+, over 54% of visits are via a mobile device.

Both online and traditional retailers are seeing their shoppers go mobile - everyone from eBay, to Ticketmaster, Etsy and Home Depot are realising the potential of the mobile consumer and are investing as a result. As well as looking at app-led commerce sites, many traditional retailers are also investing in faster mobile websites- Gap, Staples, Dell and Urban Outfitters are just a few of the brands, according to the report, who have all increased the response time of their mobile shopping sites so that it is much nearer to the industry average.

It’s not just in the US and UK either - mobile commerce is a global, growing trend and one that any retailer must prepare for if they don’t want to be left behind.

Where the people go, the advertising will follow

Over the past year, mobile is the only type of media increasing its share of consumption, while traditional media channels such as Print, Radio and TV decline. Mobile-driven revenue channels are expanding and not just in apps either, as the mobile market pivots swiftly to generating most of its revenue from software, as opposed to hardware.

As with most media channels, where the people go, the advertising spend will follow. Mobile advertising is growing and social media channels are already citing mobile ad revenue as one of their primary forms of monetisation. What’s more, is that mobile-first media companies are now overtaking traditional media channels in revenue. Facebook and Twitter have been overtaking Comcast and Viacom for some time now and out of all of the digital advertising categories, mobile is top for growth.

For advertisers the pull is clear; last year, the time users spent on smartphones surpassed the time they spent browsing on a computer and the average time they spent browsing on mobile (177 minutes per day) also overtook the time they spent watching TV (168 minutes per day). The study predicts that by 2018 15% of US ad revenue will come from mobile.

At the moment, the majority of mobile ad spend is on Facebook and Google, but where will it go next? Despite Snapchat’s failed attempts to monetise and realign what the consumer and the brand both need from the channel, the report suggests that messaging and chat apps such as Whatsapp, Wechat and Snapchat will be next on the agenda.

Key Takeaways for businesses from Part 1:

  • A responsive, fast-loading mobile site is no longer a choice - it’s a necessity
  • Brands and businesses need to think about their mobile strategy two-fold: firstly if they need a mobile app and secondly, how good the user experience is on their mobile site
  • Mobile commerce is one of the biggest growing areas for revenue and traditional retail brands need to take note of this and invest in their mobile sites if they are to keep up
  • Mobile ads may well become one of the lead channels for advertising spend, due to the amount of exposure it can give a brand, to an increasingly mobile audience