The Socially Mobile Have Arrived
I recently saw an infographic on how mobile phones are changing social media showing that people are, not surprisingly, accessing social media more frequently from their mobile phone. The rapid growth of the smartphone market, and due to this take up the subsequent drop in the price of accessing the web from a mobile, has led to a proliferation of people updating Facebook, sending tweets and contacting their friends through instant messaging tools on their phones. With the average Facebook user spending 1 of every 3 minutes of their online time on Facebook*, it isn’t surprising that a large chunk of this is on a mobile device.
But that is just social media. Gartner research recently stated that the mobile device is predicted to overtake computers as the most frequently used tool to access the web in 2013. I think it will happen sooner. You only need to take a trip on public transport to see the number of people staring down at a screen whilst on their daily commute. Twelve months ago it was a different story – there were a lot of people texting, and talking loudly and obnoxiously, on their phones but not a whole lot of people were web browsing or using web-accessed applications. In fact, mobile application and search usage has doubled on a year-on-year basis**.
With the increase in mobile web browsing, there is also the increase in online purchases using a mobile. In Japan, the online shopping mall Rakuten makes 19% of their sales from a mobile**. In the US, mobile commerce accounted for $18.3 billion in 2009. In 2015 it’s expected to reach $119 billion and Ebay has stated they expect their sales through mobile to more than double this year, up from $600 million in 2009 to $1.5 billion in 2010***. Any way you look at it, this is phenomenal growth for a device that a large part of the population still sees as just a phone.
The mobile buzz is definitely all over the software vendor space with most companies I talk to either having the first version of their mobile sites released or in testing. Magento, an open source eCommerce application IE recommends, have recently announced they will be launching a mobile version of their application. This is serious business; thinking that having a mobile version of your site as a ‘nice to have’ is quickly becoming a thing of the past.