There has been a lot of talk in the media (including on this blog) about the future of the mobile internet. While the data certainly points to a future dominated by tablets and smartphones that are always connected to the internet, it would be wrong to ignore the massive growth in the mobile market that is being experiencing right now. Recent studies based on internet usage habits and consumer surveys indicate that mobile is more than the medium of the future; It’s what customers want today.
For e-commerce sites, the mobile age is already here. A recent study from comScore showed that more than 90 percent of tablet and smartphone users had used their device to access an e-commerce site or app. On the other hand, only 78 percent of desktop users accessed e-commerce sites. While it has been difficult for advertisers to get results from mobile ads, retailers have definitely seen increases in web traffic and sales brought upon by the increasing number of mobile devices.
Another interesting finding from the comScore study is that since 2010, mobile commerce spending in the fourth quarter has been more than double the amount spent in the second quarter. Since there was more than $4.7 billion spent in the second quarter of 2013, retailers can expect to see more than $9 billion in mobile commerce sales this holiday season. Far from being a concern limited to the future, optimizing mobile sites and mobile commerce is essential for businesses today.
“Retailers who do not (at a minimum) optimize their mobile browsing experience or introduce mobile apps are effectively turning away a third of their potential customers,” the researchers said in a blog post about the study.
The demand for mobile interactions is being seen across the globe. A recent study of 17 countries by SAP revealed that nearly 80 percent of consumers want more mobile compatibility for all kinds of transactions from banks to utility providers. Excluding the transactions made by voice calls, more than half of mobile owners turn to their mobile devices to pay a bill (55 percent) or make a bank transfer (52 percent); and nearly half used it to set up a new account (48 percent).
Equally important, the study suggested that people would use their mobile devices more if they were easier to use, if security concerns were addressed, and if internet was available while they were shopping. By ensuring their sites are optimized for mobile, that the sites are secure, and that there is an internet connection at retail locations, businesses can take advantage of the people’s desire to use mobile.
“Consumers are now ready and demanding more mobile commerce services, and they also expect to engage with their mobile phones more simply and effectively,” said Anthony Reynolds, a senior vice president at SAP.
There is no doubt that mobile devices will continue to play a huge role in commerce as they continue to change the ways we live, work, and shop. But there’s no reason for business owners to wait to take advantage of these advances in technology. The onus isn’t on technology to catch up with business; it’s up to businesses to catch up with technology. The reason that people say that mobile internet is the future of business is because it will take a while for all of the businesses and industries to fully adopt changing technology. The company’s that are first to adopt will have a tremendous advantage over their competitors that may last for years.