Five mobile trends to look out for in 2012

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The mobile landscape of 2012 is ripe with possibility. Globally, it’s estimated that 5.3-billion people have mobile phones. This means that there are more people picking up a mobile phone every morning than lifting a newspaper. Increasingly, it’s not only to make calls and send texts either — mobile data traffic is trebling every year.

Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones became the highest-selling consumer electronic device category in 2011, amounting to 115-million units in Q3 alone — according to one report, beating out PC, laptop, and netbook figures combined. With the growing popularity of smartphones and the increasing dependence on mobile devices, it’s only natural that everyone will want to take their mobile strategies for next year to a whole new level.

The world has gone mobile, so be prepared.

Mobile commerce is undergoing rampant change. Retailers and consumers are racing for devices and applications with capabilities that they’ve never had before.

As the year-end looms, many of us are left prognosticating about future trends and seeking expert forecasts to help guide our campaign strategies for the next communications cycle.

So, with only a few weeks left until 2012, here are some key stats to think about:

  • The CTIA Wireless Association recently said more than 250-million Americans now have mobile phones, with 57% of teenagers believing that their device is the center of their social universe.

  • Biz Report predicts that more than 10-trillion text messages will be sent next year. Text messaging programmes will account for about $14-billion of the over $19 billion it says will be spent on mobile campaigns in 2012.
  • A recent AT&T report suggests that 88% of marketers will increase their spend on mobile based campaigns.
  • Renowned research firm Gartner predicts mobile email users worldwide will see pronounced growth next year, increasing from 354 million in 2009 to 713 million by 2014.

1. Mobile Advertising

  • Mobile advertising networks have delivered 350-billion global impressions in 2011, generating $800-million in media spend, and earning $275-million in revenue. The US market generated 50% of gross media spend, with Europe and Asia both at around 25%.

  • In a Juniper Research report titled “Mobile Retail Marketing, Advertising, Coupons and NFC Shopping, 2011-2016″, the authors predict that the value of mobile retail marketing (a sector still in its infancy when compared to traditional advertising outlets) will hit $15 billion next year — a 50% leap up from 2011.
  • Mind Commerce estimates the world market for mobile marketing and advertising revenues will reach nearly $54-billion by 2020.

2. Mobile Coupons

  • According to a new survey commissioned by AT&T, mobile barcodes are the biggest area of potential for innovation. 66% of respondents agreed that mobile barcodes will drive new mobile marketing campaign concepts in the next year. The majority of executives surveyed said they rank mobile barcodes the second highest mobile marketing priority for 2012.

  • Said Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk and co-chair of the MMA mobile barcode division: “Mobile barcodes will continue to evolve rapidly worldwide. They offer unmatched opportunity to increase brand value by adding measurable interactive functionality and richer consumer engagement.”
  • One obstacle so far has been that QR code scanning capabilities have not come as standard on mobile phones, but marketers are expecting to find the required 2D barcode readers being issued as part of the original equipment on smartphones in 2012.

3. Mobile Web

  • More than 90% of mobile phones going out onto the market today have access to the mobile web through a browser.

  • The mobile web will be a leading channel in 2012. Mobile search will be the dominant activity for engaging people with branded communications, according to Google. Mobile search could become as big for Google, if not bigger, than desktop search. This holiday season, the search giant expects that 44% of total searches for last minute gifts will be from mobile devices.
  • According to Forrester research, while 13% of the U.S. population searched with a mobile device in 2010 (90% with Google), mobile searchers will account for 28% of the U.S. population by 2015.

4. Mobile Commerce

  • Mobile point-of-sale technology is an area that will see accelerated growth and innovation. However, it’s doubtful that it will become mainstream until 2015, since payment solution providers still need to address use and implementation ease without compromising security.

  • International banks are developing a mobile transactional capability called “Swipe to Pay”, which is set to completely replace credit cards within a few years. This technology allows an enabled mobile phone to be swiped past a merchant’s reader to pay for goods.
  • According to PayPal, global mobile payment volume increased by 516% on Black Friday and 552% on Cyber Monday this year.
  • There are lots of potential mobile shoppers out there. About 43% of Americans own smartphones, according to Nielsen. Amazon says that the number of American customers who shop via their mobile device has nearly tripled since last year and almost 10% of all electronic purchases made in October 2011 came through mobile devices, according to research from IBM Coremetrics.

5. Mobile Video

  • The arrival of HTML5 in email and on the web has given brands a lot to work with in terms of the capabilities that can be built into a mobile newsletter and a mobile site. HTML5 has enabled rich-media environments that will help brands achieve the creatives that they envision and reach people more uniformly across various mobile devices.

  • Designers of mobile interfaces are continually improving their platform to maximize on the commercial aspects of mobile connectivity. Says designer Clint Eksteen, who works for a prominent email solutions provider: “Discussions are currently in place to transform our master page to HTML5. We have been doing tests on the new markup and are seeing great results, especially in Firefox and Chrome. We are definitely looking to bring HTML5 into the fold in 2012.”
  • As technology advances, consumers demand more bandwidth. Current development sees the simultaneous introduction of the speedy 4G networks by operators while programming is shifting to the mobile-friendly HTML5 language. Together, this will put mobile-user experience in line with traditional internet delivery.

With the increased activity we’ve seen this year, the mobile web will become what desktop internet became in the 90s: the standard platform for anyone doing business.

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