2015 was a red-hot year for mobile technology.
The number of mobile devices has now surpassed the global human population. More than ever, consumers are interacting with businesses using their mobile devices before going through any other channel As “mobile-first” becomes the norm for every age group, consumers from all demographics are able to quickly understand each other when referencing products and services that have captured their interest. Whether it’s via face-to-face interaction, email, a text message, a Dropbox shared folder or an Instagram direct message, the language is clear and the smartphone is the sharing tool of choice. This trend of convergence and mobile is accelerating quickly, and the question becomes: which businesses will be able to successfully market & monetize their mobile arm?
Google rolled out its “MobileGeddon” ranking algorithm that penalized non-mobile optimized Web sites, making mobile-first design a must have for all.
2016 is expected to be equally epic for mobile.
So here are top trends:
1. Internet of Things
Even as smartphones have come to dominate the desktop, the concept of mobile itself is fast moving beyond just phones. Mobile no longer means just your phone or tablet, but increasingly your watch, your car, even your fashion accessories and the clothes you wear. Wearables, by their very nature, are more intimate and provide deeper data about consumers.
2. Mobile video usage is exploding
According to Cisco, mobile data traffic grew nearly 70 percent in 2014, with 55 percent of mobile data traffic spent on videos.
As of November, Facebook claims 8 million video views every day – a figure which doubled in six months – with more than 75 percent of these happening on mobile devices.
3. Planet of the apps
Flurry Analytics has released its 2015 Year in Review, analyzing the growth of app usage last year. The company found overall app usage increased by 58 percent in 2015, with ‘app usage’ being defined as a user opening an app and having a ‘session’ within it.
In October, Google had indexed more than 100 billion deep links within apps. Adding app search results will have a profound effect on usage and discovery for apps.
4. The Internet of me
As marketers collect more data about individuals from connected devices and across their purchase habits, one-size-fits-all marketing is fast going out and has several implications for brands:
Beyond mobile first: Moving to context-first design
Most marketers have now caught on to the mantra of mobile-first design.
Location is the new cookie
According to Google, 85 percent of the top 100 retailers are expected to adopt some kind of beacon technology by the end of 2016.
Beacons, accompanied by corresponding consumer acceptance of location-based marketing, will have significant effect on shopper marketing and will enable brands to deliver hyper-relevant, micro-targeted offers.
5. Chat is the new social
For those who do not know how chat is going to evolve, one only has to look at WeChat in China.
What was once a simple messaging app has now become a full-fledged marketing, commerce and payment platform. Users are able to connect with brands, request and reserve services, and buy and pay for goods, all through the same app.
Both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are expected to cross more than 1 billion users in 2016. Although Facebook has been coy about opening up those services to brands for marketing opportunities, expect that to change in 2016.
6. Mobile commerce moves beyond window shopping
Not so long ago, mobile’s role in commerce was largely to influence shopping: read product reviews, check pricing and receive coupons and offers. That is clearly not true any longer.
Mobile currently accounts for 35 percent of all e-commerce, according to Forrester, and less than 2 percent of all retail sales. This will increase rapidly.
7. Mobile will continue to revolutionize shopper marketing promotions
Mobile continues to play an under-appreciated role as a bridge between offline and online, particularly when it comes to retail.
Brands are increasingly leveraging mobile in promotions, both in validating purchase through bridging solutions such as receipt processing and in providing incentives via digital content, electronic gift cards and prepaid credit cards.
8. Mobile wallets will NOT be mainstream in 2016
This is a classic “when, not if” problem. There will come a time when credit cards will be rendered obsolete by mobile wallets. It just will not happen in 2016.
Apple Pay continues to slowly win over advocates, helped by the possibility that it may well be the killer app for the Apple Watch. Apple claims 80 percent of Apple Watch users are using Apple Pay to make payments.
Interestingly, Samsung’s brilliantly named Samsung Pay may well be the killer mobile wallet solution as it can work with all payment terminals that accept credit cards, and not just NFC-enabled ones that are estimated at 10 percent of the market.
Despite clear progress, mobile wallets will remain niche for at least another year, as retailers slowly upgrade terminals, market players continue to compete on standards and features, security and usage issues get ironed out and the public at large remains comfortable charging stuff to their credit card.
SO WILL 2016 be just more of the same, or will there be surprises that we never saw coming? Looking forward to find out.
(Excerpted from e-marketer, Mashable, Luxury Daily, Flurry)
January 7th, 2016