MEF’s 10 key mobile trends for 2014, ‘cos mobile is big

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It’s that time of the year again when everyone stares into their crystal balls and tries to predict the future. Mobile is becoming a core focus for most markets now (Africa welcomes you to the future) so here are some trends for mobile.

MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce, has put together its predictions for the global mobile landscape in the next 12 months.

According to the organisation, it has leveraged insights from MEF’s Global Board Directors and its third annual MEF Global Mobile Consumer Survey. The survey studies mobile user behaviour from 10 000 respondents in 13 countries, and the forecast identifies key trends that will shape the mobile industry in the year ahead.

“Consumers drive this progress with their enthusiasm to use the mobile device for deeper engagement with brands, services and commerce, along with the increasing willingness to undertake higher value transactions and establish long term relationships via mobile,” says Andrew Bud, MEF Global Chair.

He reckons that “2013 has been the year in which mobile became the principal area of opportunity, growth and innovation for start-ups and major technology vendors alike”.

So here it is:

The dawn of Mobile 3.0. The new breed of relationship super apps will displace one-off purchases – for music or video for example – with longer term subscription-based streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix. Higher value items will be purchased via the mobile device with users migrating their spending on big ticket items from online and the high street to mobile. MEF’s 2013 Global Consumer Survey shows that the high spend threshold grew to 39 per cent in 2013 (up eight per cent from 2012) on items over US$151.

The conversation will move from big data to smart data. Case studies will show that 2014 is the year mainstream users will adopt advanced data analytics to create accurate, actionable insights that drive mobile content and commerce services and support fast, iterative product development in the quest to achieve maximum user engagement.

Second screening (not dual screening): In 2014 developed market broadcasters will embrace second screening by offering tailored companion content, targeted advertising and direct opportunities to purchase from-ad-to-phone. In growth markets, the opportunity of second phone ownership will prevail. 49% of consumers in developed markets US, UK and China along with 42% of consumers in LATAM watch TV while using mobile media. In Asia this drops to 24%, but 51 per cent of Indonesians use two phones.

Trust as a critical asset: Despite revelations on commercial tracking and compromise of consumer privacy, regulators and the public will be reassured by robust industry self-regulatory initiatives and the trend for trust to be the biggest single barrier to purchase growth on mobile will reverse for the first time in three years. Apps and brands demonstrating data transparency and best practice will differentiate themselves as ‘Trusted Apps’. MEF’s Global Consumer Survey 2013 reported that 40% of consumers see trust as the biggest single barrier, increasing from 35% in 2012 and 27% in 2011.

Wearable technology will create new ecosystems. Moving beyond glasses and experimentation, wearable sensor technology will support the new entry of major brand verticals into the market. 2014 will see the development of new ecosystems and mobile partnerships in wearables and will help accelerate mobile-led services such as m-health, insurance and personal safety.

Growth market device vendors will challenge. The market share of leaders Apple and Samsung will stay strong but decline, as device vendors from China and India – such as Xiaomi and Micromax – take an increasingly significant share worldwide.

Major financial players will assert themselves in the mobile arena. Cross-border mobile money services, for payments and remittances, will start to show substantial traction for the first time in 2014.

Mass-adoption of education and m-health apps will be driven by mobile-first markets. In 2013, 26% of educational app usage was from India followed by 25% in South Africa and 20% in Kenya according to the results of MEF’s 13-country study. In, 2014 African mobile start-ups focused on these areas will secure venture investments exceeding US$100-million for the first time.

The internet of things becomes a reality: Driven by open standards, 2014 will see the emergence of a flourishing ecosystem for the wireless internet of things mostly controlled by the consumer through the mobile device including automotive and home automation.

Operators actively reclaim the consumer relationship: 2014 will see operators launch new products & services around communications, payments & identity and partner with disrupters to establish greater consumer choice and value.



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