Statistically, people are crazy about fashion and shopping so it's naturally going to extend to their mobile interests. What are the key trends at the moment? I'm a data person and here is a combination of facts and figures and my thoughts on the future of mobile.
1. First, mobile traffic has exploded. In the UK, where Shopcade is based, 50% of all online traffic was done on a mobile device last Christmas. 70% of the population has a smartphone and 12 million tablets were sold here in 2013.
2. Mobile sales growth shows that 1/3 of online sales are done from mobile devices, which now account for half of the traffic on retail sites. Fashion and clothing make up 36% of sales. Mobile commerce sales will reach $113.57bn in 2017 according to eMarketer.
3. Advertising is always a good indicator of media importance and in-app advertising is to grow 5 fold from $3.5bn to $17bn by 2018 (Juniper). This reflects that of time spent on mobile, 89% is on apps vs 11% on mobile web. Time spent on apps is growing 32%.
4. Behaviourally, consumers are using smartphones to browse and tablets to buy. Reports show that consumers increasingly use different devices for different things at different times. Desktops and laptops are more reserved for work, smartphones and smart watches for sharing and sourcing information, while tablets are great for checking emails, reading the news, and entertainment. As each platform is optimised differently, advertisers are likely to develop tailored strategies for each device.
5. Mobile users have distinct timings where advertisers can influence, assist or entertain, ultimately leading to sales.
No one was harnessing the power of mobile for social shopping properly, so my team and I designed and developed the Shopcade app from our HQ in London. If you just want to buy a standard good, go to Amazon, but if you love fashion and want to see what celebrities, bloggers and early adopters are wearing, and get unique offers, Shopcade is the place to go. Our key innovation is about discovery and commerce as we're the first 'shoppable mobile magazine' - mobile content that leads to engagement and sales. Aside from luxury designers and high street power brands, we work with a lot of nascent brands that aren't in a position to launch their own mobile platform. Shopcade allows them to be discovered by our over 850,000 mobile users and two million app visitors per month. It's a huge opportunity for brands, leveraging the power and marketing of one mobile platform. I recommend that brands think long and hard before launching their own standalone mobile stores, especially as app marketing is still tricky. Brands can embed into Shopcade for greater discovery and already be optimised without having to make a significant investment.
So what are my views on the future of mobile?
6. The competitive advantage in mobile will shift from experience design to big data and analytics. We will see more customisation and personalisation of content and offers. Soon content will be even shorter. Think MICRO-CONTENT, like the 140 characters on Twitter to better adapt to handheld mobile devices. When designing for mobile, smartphones have shorter dwell times. Smartphones are made for quickly sourcing content, and soon smartphone video adverts will be specifically designed to be shorter, probably hovering around 5 to 10 seconds. We are already seeing this trend emerge with Vine and Instagram videos.
7. Mobile POS (point of sale) integration and payment integration is well on the way with Apple's iBeacon and Touch ID helping to facilitate mobile purchases seamlessly. This is strategic for Apple as the sale of digital goods is on the increase via the App store and iTunes, clocking in at 20% growth per year, $16 billion in sales!
8. On a global scale, the role of Asia is also extremely important. Asia makes up nearly 4 billion out of the total 6.6 billion global mobile subscriptions. A $25 smartphone showcased at the Mobile Congress last month caught my attention. Services such as WeChat are becoming much more than IM (instant messaging) services. LINE, for example, an instant messaging service used primarily in South Korea and Japan is massive and going global, with its rich media messaging. Watch the Asia mobile players...
9. Mobile is moving into homes and health as well as monitoring systems (Google acquired Nest last year). Wearable technology products like Jawbone and Fuelband, which track health and fitness, and Google Glass, which is a lightweight wearable computer are cool, but are still quite limited. As more products come to market, there should be wider adoption in the future.
So what's your mobile strategy and what do you think are your main opportunities? Let me know your thoughts!
Image credit: Retail Digital