By Marta Krupinska, co-Founder and General Manager of Azimo
Have a think about the last time you looked at your phone? How many times have you used it in the last hour, or day? Nottingham Trent University found we look at our phones about 85 times a day. What did you last use your phone for? To make a call? Probably not.
Mobile has completely revolutionised the way we work, play, eat and communicate. It was less than ten years ago that the iPhone kicked off the mobile revolution. Now, there are apps for everything and the humble mobile has become central to running our lives. So much so, that there's even an app which notifies you if it thinks you have a smartphone addiction, however contradictory that may seem.
Today more consumers choose to shop online via mobile devices than on their desktops, a report shows. With Black Friday coming up, it's interesting to see that last year in the US sales on this day fell by over $1bn, as shoppers favoured the online sales instead. So could this be the first 'Mobile Christmas', where more sales are made via mobile than on the high street or desktop? Only time will tell, but there is certainly a shift in the way consumers are spending.
Mobile and social
It's not a coincidence that my mum would always tell me to take cash to the shops, as physical money is psychologically more difficult to spend. E-commerce companies are going out of their way to make sure that their payment options are as digitally native and frictionless as possible. Likewise, the fintech industry is spotting the opportunity in the mobile transformations, as people change how they think about, spend, send, receive and manage money.
Considering UK consumers spend 41% of their total app time on messaging and social apps - almost twice as much as gaming and four times as much as music, media and entertainment apps - collaborating with existing, popular social media platforms and apps is a way to keep consumers happy and engaged. Innovation in payments is not as interesting as enabling people to do what they want to do, when they want to do it - and the magic really happens when social and finance come together.
Integrating with Facebook Messenger and Siri, as Azimo and other companies have done, is fundamentally shifting the way people manage their money; by scrolling through your Facebook list, you and your friends can exchange details immediately on Messenger and use the app to make the money transfer; through Apple's Siri system, customers can transfer funds by telling Siri the amount of money they want to send and the recipient's name.
Money, money, money
A recent survey from Avoka reported that 71% of millennials would rather visit their dentist than go to their bank branch. So it's no surprise to find that all 4 leading UK banks are amongst the 10 least loved brands. With almost half of UK consumers using online banking via smartphones, we've seen a huge shift in how people are using mobile to manage their money. In fact there are greater concerns around losing a mobile than losing a wallet.
So with consumers onboard with managing their online banking via mobiles, what's next? In the coming years will we see mobile technology replace cards? We're already seeing cards usurp cash so it's not too far a leap.
The simple things in life
Mobile has a lot to say in the Internet of Things (IoT) domain, too. For a lot of people, a product will inevitably become more appealing if it can be controlled via your mobile. I love surprising my dinner guests with changing the colour and brightness of my Phillips Hue lamp. Users of the IoT-connected heating system Hive can switch on and control the temperature of the house using their mobile. Amazon's Dash enables consumers to buy toilet roll, dishwasher tablets and washing powder with the simple click of a smart button.
The passport to our future
Mobile's are more than just our phone. They've become our SatNav, fitness instructor, personal assistant and bank. They are our passport to myriad destinations, opening our eyes to countless possibilities. Mobile has become the norm, but is there anywhere else mobile can take us that we haven't already been? We're bound to see more developments in the technological world in the very near future; while mobile continues eat up the share of the market, I expect to see more inter-company integration and a greater appetite from consumers for it.