In a recent article, mobile blogger Stephanie Faris talked about the increasing importance of mobile marketing. Faris cites a Morgan Stanley survey that projects mobile internet usage will surpass desktop internet usage by 2015. These projections are not only shocking, but they also demonstrate mobile’s meteoric rise to prominence.
If Morgan Stanley’s projections hold, mobile will be the fastest medium to overtake its predecessor. It took TV about twenty years to assimilate into American society. It took the desktop Internet usage around twelve years to overtake TV usage. The realization of the Morgan Stanley projections means mobile would need eight years (from the inception of the iPhone) to overtake desktop Internet usage.
While these projections are eye-popping, recent data supports these assertions. As of March 2012, 106 Million Americans owned a smartphone, according to a comScore survey. In addition 234 million Americans over the age of 13 use mobile devices. Considering the US population is slightly more than 300 million people, it’s safe to say mobile is embedded in our lives.
These macro stats give the big picture of mobile’s rise, but the best signal of mobile’s importance is our dependence on it on a daily basis. According to a recent Harris Interactive survey, 60% of Americans check their phones every hour. In addition, 73% of Americans panicked when they misplaced their phone. We are attached to our mobile devices, and that presents opportunities for merchants.
Mobile is the new marketplace, but it is still a largely unexplored territory. According to an AT&T survey mentioned in the Faris article, 75% of small businesses have a website, but only 31% have a mobile-enabled website. During this past holiday season, 61% percent of customers surveyed said they would go to a competitor’s site if they found a mobile-unfriendly site. Now it’s July – considering how fast mobile has found its way into the market – 6 months is a long time. How many companies have responded?
For any size business, the question is how to connect with customers through mobile. If customers are running their lives through mobile, then that’s where you need to find them. Mobile-friendly websites are one part of the equation; mobile apps another. The key is to define a strategy and go after it in a market that is 230 million strong in the United States and growing. It’s time to mobilize!