The Blagger's Guide to: mobile
You will have noticed by the changing size, shape and capabilities of the device in your pocket that the mobile landscape in Australia continues to change quickly and steadily. Our reliance on mobile devices is so great that by 2015 smartphone internet usage is tipped to surpass desktop usage. With this in mind, it is time to skill up, get the facts straight and explore what this could mean for you and your business.
It’s easy to understand why smartphones are so valued. They’re easy to use, plus the varied and native benefits of mobile devices as well as the close proximity in which mobiles are kept at all times make them nigh on indispensible.
Australians embrace them more than most which means brands should too.
Though often compared to our Western counterparts in the UK and US, Australia boasts the 2nd highest smartphone penetration in the world, a short way behind Singapore who leads the market. Smartphone penetration has increased to 52%, in comparison to 37% in 2011. This level of growth is only expected to continue.
So what’s responsible for this growth? Until recently, Apple iPhone product launches have been accountable for major peaks in uptake. Despite still having the highest penetration in the market, the shift is eminent. Apple products currently have about 40% market share but Android is catching up quickly at 32%. Watch this space...!
Interestingly, other handsets such as Blackberry, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung which for some years almost completely disappeared from the market have also improved with about 28% of the total smartphone market.
As a result, all brands needs to build content suitable for all operating systems. It’s no longer acceptable to only consider Apple. By taking a broader, whole market approach, this will ensure the highest reach and penetration and not alienate parts of the market.
Tablet growth, while still years behind Smartphones, is strengthening year on year. Approximately 18% of households use a tablet today, expected to increase to 40% by 2013. Though the audience skews to professionals, they also a heavily shared device in the home. iPads still currently dominate, responsible for 63% of the marketplace.
Again, this is expected to shift as we see other brands enter the market and solve some frustrations consumers have with Apple products. These include the reliance on iTunes, the lack of USB access and the inability to connect to other products outside of the Apple brand.
Mobile search has also experienced steady audience growth. And with innovative functionality such as click to call, now has great value for lead generation brands. Expected to overtake desktop searches in 2014, it demonstrates the need for brands to ensure their sites and branded environments are mobile friendly, which surprisingly many are still not. You have to ask the question why?
In the past, mobile was simply seen as a medium to capture people on the move. But recently we’ve seen a shift in the way and places that mobile devices are used. The highest usage is now while consumers are at home. The personalised nature of the media means it is not only used as a communication device but as an alarm, for tools and application, a social media device, and lastly for product research and purchasing.
Due to the accessibility of their mobile phones, 68% of Australians are now regularly using their mobiles in store to price compare and make sure they’re getting the best deal. In many cases this leads to purchases online, which are having a significant effect on the bricks and mortar retail environment.
Confidence about transacting online has been built by small and successful purchasing of songs and entertainment on iTunes. Despite starting with 99 cent song purchases, today the average transaction value on mobile devices is $175 per transaction. This demonstrates the confidence in mobile and leads into the value e-wallets and NFC technology will provide in the future.
NFC (near field communication) is a short range, wireless technology that allows information to be transferred between devices. Almost all Android phones now feature the necessary chip and it is rumoured that the iPhone5 may feature this technology. Though NFC is used mostly for content at this stage, it has huge potential as a transaction technology.
To- date the technology has the ability to represent your debt and credit cards, membership cards, and deal redemption, all using‘tap to pay’ functionality. A pin number is also incorporated to ensure security. Though not yet mainstream, many Australian financial institutions have introduced and begun advertising their offerings in market.
NFC has the potential to revolutionise the way we understand currency today but its uptake and popularity is heavily reliant on simplicity and ease of use, as well as the technology companies and financial institutions cooperating.
The statistics demonstrate the appetite for smartphones and mobile devices in Australia. This gives us a great platform for brands to engage with highly targeted audiences. Finally, considering the comfort in using mobile devices to transact, NFC and e-wallets will be a hot topic in the back half of 2012.
All I can say is ....watch this space...the mobile landscape changes rapidly.