The proliferation of mobile devices has seen the “little screen” gain increased integration into the social, economic and cultural framework of society.
A 2016 report published by Nielsen indicated that about 72% of mobile shoppers rely on their phones to dig out information about a product before buying.
The report also showed that about 60% of these shoppers use store locator features when they set out for a purchase.
Research shows that smartphone users check their phones about one hundred and fifty times a day.
Smart phones have not only gained mainstream adoption, they have also continued to gain increased integration into the fibers of society. Today, mobile platforms have taken center stage in online interactions and they are shaping the future prospects of businesses.
The shift to mobile platforms is evident in the volume of revenue that flows into the mobile app market. According to Statista, the mobile app market saw an influx of about $365 billion in 2018. This number is expected to exceed $900 billion by 2023. By 2025 it is expected that nearly ¾ of all people will only use their mobile devices for internet access.
These estimates aren’t wild prognostications. With over three billion smartphone users worldwide and about 2.5 million apps, it is likely that the mobile app market would exceed the one trillion-dollar mark in the not too distant future.
A survey by Compete (a web analytics firm), indicated that more people are relying on their phones for information needs, consolidating a pattern that emerged years ago: a shift from PC to mobile. But this doesn’t mean the era of PCs is over. It just means that more attention would shift to mobile platforms since more people are relying on their phones for their information needs.
The impact of smartphones has had a special impact on emerging economies. The introduction of affordable options has led to the massive adoption of smartphones in these countries, where the cost of PCs stalled the development of the digital space.
With a large population of smartphone users relying on the little screen for a large range of needs, market opportunities have arisen in these countries. These opportunities range from the mobile money options to cab hailing and ecommerce.
Since the population of smartphone users in these countries represent a fraction of the general population, there’s a huge market potential resident in emerging economies. As these regions gain increased smart phone and internet penetration, the digital economy would continue to explode.
How are Businesses Adjusting?
Since the use of mobile phones to access the internet surpassed PCs, mobile platforms have continued to gain increased integration into the economic framework of society.
This shift signals a changing paradigm for brands. How are businesses adjusting?
Mobile Friendly Websites
Mobile friendly websites have been growing in popularity. Reasons for the increased popularity of mobile friendly websites include the fact that internet users are more likely to access the web from their phones than PCs and the fact that there are more smartphone users than PC owners.
Since this pattern became obvious, brands have been optimizing their websites for mobile. The trend towards mobile friendly websites is creating a divide. A divide that’s putting businesses with mobile friendly websites at a competitive advantage.
Mobile friendly websites are more responsive on mobile and provide a better experience for mobile users. Research shows that whether a website is mobile friendly or not has an impact on a brand’s business prospects.
The impact is on the referral loop. Studies reveal that more than half of users would not recommend a brand whose website isn’t mobile friendly.
Mobile Payment Options
The proliferation of mobile platforms has also led to the emergence of mobile payment options.
Over the years, mobile payment options have grown in popularity. The reason isn’t far-fetched. It is more convenient to use your phone for payments than a credit card.
This has opened another avenue for businesses seeking to gain a competitive advantage. By offering mobile payment options, a brand can consolidate its hold on a market and even expand its reach.
What’s more, offering mobile payment options come with a number of perks such as the ability to cut expenses and integrate loyalty programs. One more thing: you don’t need to print receipts.
Some countries have embraced mobile payments more than others. Surprisingly Africa is leading the way here, albeit backed by US based Venture Capital firms and payment giants like PayPal & VISA.
Mobile payments are also big in the online gambling industry in countries where it is legal. In New Zealand more than 50% of players deposit money via mobile. UK and Germany report very similar numbers.
The huge number of app downloads indicates that smartphone users are finding mobile apps more compelling.
As the number of downloads go up, it becomes more compelling for brands to build custom apps for their businesses. A custom app provides a pathway to participate in the growing mobile app economy.
But the mobile revolution is far from over. As smartphone and internet penetration increases, the digital economy would become more robust and provide avenues for gain for businesses.
What’s more, as the new technologies emerge and integrate with mobile, new case scenarios would arise for the “small screen”.