There’s no question about it, the world has changed. It’s gone mobile. Consumers are free from the confines of their homes, offices, and traditional media and retail environments. Today’s consumers have the power at their fingertips to fulfill their needs anytime and anywhere, and they’re using it.
To understand the impact that mobile is having on marketing, it’s important that you consider the integral themes driving mobile forward. In the last few years, we’ve seen unprecedented releases of new hardware and software technology; the rise and influence of social media; the introduction of personal cloud computing; new innovations in business models; continued rollout of globalization; jockeying between the central controllers of mobile connectivity, the mobile carriers and new players like Google, Yahoo, Comcast and Microsoft; the introduction of new industry guidelines and principles; new government regulation; and new investment flows within every part of the mobile marketing ecosystem, just to name a few.
All of these themes and many more make up the mobile story. However, there’s one theme that overshadows them all: the dramatic shift in consumer behavior.
In our mobile world, consumers are connected and empowered. This hasn’t always been the case. Less than eight years ago, there were no more than 1 billion mobile connections worldwide. Today, nearly 90 percent of the global population, over 6.8 billion people, live within reach of a mobile signal. There are over 5.3 billion mobile connections.
Of these 5.3 billion connections, there are 3.75 billion unique mobile users, with the difference between total connections and unique users showing us that people carry multiple devices — and they use them. They’re consuming media, searching, identifying, locating and acquiring whatever they need (e.g., information, goods and services) right from the palm of their hands. Consider the following:
- there were over 6 trillion text messages sent worldwide in 2010;
- mobile internet use is on the rise globally, with growth in the U.S. at approximately 30 percent and growing; and
- apps are being downloaded in the billions
Social media is proving to be a driving force in this growth. Here are some figures to back up that assertion:
- Forty percent of all tweets are currently created on mobile devices.
- There are 200-plus million mobile Facebook users, and they’re spending approximately an equal amount of time on Facebook on their PCs as on their mobile phones.
- M-commerce is rapidly growing in 2011. Consumers will spend billions on goods and services directly via mobile, and mobile will also influence $225 billion to $230 billion in traditional retail and e-commerce sales.