“Mobile will soon become “the starting point” for brands, not an add-on or siloed initiative.” Pete Blackshaw, Nestlé’s global head of digital marketing and social media (At the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, February 2014)

“Today consumers are just seeing [all consumer electronic devices] as connected screens, connected ecosystems. The more I make things familiar, the more I can make content exchange frictionlessly between these things, and the more and more chance [that] I’m going to have consumers adopt my services, applications and devices” Michael Gartenberg, industry analyst with Gartner (NYTimes.com, February 16, 2012)


Description

Global information and measurement company Nielsen said that app usage in 2013 grew by 115%, and tablet usage increased by 141% since 2010. The mobile madness is here. Smartphones and tablets sales have exceeded those of desktops and laptops making the Internet available in our pockets, handbags and everyday devices.

Total smartphone shipment volumes are expected to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014, up by 19.3% year over year from the 1.0 billion units shipped in 2013.

Indeed, the rapid spread of mobile is dizzying: according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide smartphone market grew 28.6% year over year in the first quarter of 2014. Total smartphone shipment volumes are expected to reach 1.2 billion units in 2014, up by 19.3% year over year from the 1.0 billion units shipped in 2013. Mobile is disrupting industries at an astonishing scale and speed. And if this is definitely happening in Western markets, the phenomenon is even more prevalent in the developing world: a record 40% of the smartphones shipped worldwide in first quarter of 2014 were China-bound, stated IDC. The smartphone has moved from a mere communication device to an enabler for a wide range of experiences from TV viewing to shopping and banking, making it a primary screen for consumers. First, smartphone chat apps have created a global network of connections between people all around the world. People are craving apps: Google data says that 12 is the average number of apps a smartphone owner has used in the past 30 days. M-shopping is soaring – 46% of smartphone users have purchased something on their device; Nielsen says that the number of shoppers accessing major retail sites from their Android devices grew by an average of 48% in the 12 months ending June 2014, whereas desktops and laptops usage decreased by about 20%. All these factors seem to predict that the mobile will become the future primary digital channel.

The most personal object

As ‘digital natives’, Millennials expect connectivity, but one that is driven by context. We have shifted regular tech usage from traditional laptop and desktop to far more personal and contextual smartphones. They are being used to deliver personal relevancy in more situations, locations, and experiences. As they are both tactile and portable, mobile devices are more personally connected to their users than any other machine. This personal connection has led to deeper levels of trust, empowerment and dependence. This is not about customization; it’s a deeper level of connection. What makes mobile devices so personal? First, the smartphone is not just a phone, it is a multi-tasking tool that allows its user to organize and manage their private and professional life as well as stock memory (emails, photos, videos, notes, calendar, chats etc.) – giving these machines unparalleled value and power.

As they are both tactile and portable, mobile devices are more personally connected to their users than any other machine. This personal connection has led to deeper levels of trust, empowerment and dependence.

Second, the rise of mobile apps has made phones smarter and even more personal. The explosion of the app ecosystem has allowed people to search, choose and download the services they wish for themselves. In doing so, the mobile answers each one’s specific needs in an individual way. Users now expect that mobile apps, which they consider as personalized services, will pre-emptively assist them. Third, at a time when sharing information, photos and videos is booming, mobile phones or tablets  -– are the only machines that are able to transcribe what people are doing in the moment. As a result, tech is less about what it is and how it works and more about what it does for an individual in a particular situation, place, time or relationship with other — and brands.

Everytime everywhere

Mobile devices have brought instant access to action/reaction in all circumstances, everywhere and at any time. A Harris Interactive survey of U.S. adult smartphone owners found that 63% of female respondents and 73% of male respondents don’t go an hour without checking their phone. In the upcoming years, consumers will look to their mobile devices to maximize every single moment. People expect persistent connectivity to leverage information that is immediate and useful for ‘doing’, not just ‘knowing’. Hectic, urban lifestyles mean that no amount of time will be too fleeting, or activity too absorbing, to cram in more content, connection, consumption or more.

A Harris Interactive survey of U.S. adult smartphone owners found that 63% of female respondents and 73% of male respondents don’t go an hour without checking their phone.

Besides all that, consumers own multiple mobile devices, belong to several social networks and use many websites. The multiple use of devices has given birth to a multi-screen living, giving the Millennial consumer unprecedented clout. For instance, they are more likely to use mobile phones, laptops and tablets while watching TV to do things like text, chat or IM with friends. According to Think with Google, 81% of consumers use a smartphone while watching television on a daily basis while 90% of multiple-device owners switch between devices to complete tasks. Not only do consumers explore new digital avenues, but they are also broadening the number of touch points—sources they refer to before and during shopping. Nielsen research recently analyzed 11 key marketing touch points and found that 8 are digital. Today, half of U.S. consumers use from 4 to 7 touch points vs. 8 to 11 for US Millennials.

Featured examples

 

Moment

in-the-moment

Credit: Moment’s AppStore Page

Moment is an iOS app that automatically tracks how much mobile users use their iPhone and iPad each day. Designed to promote a healthier balance between real and digital lives, people can create daily limits on that usage, and the app also offers “occasional nudges” when they are approaching those limits saying things like “Hey, you’re halfway to your daily limit already and it’s only 11 AM.” Kevin Holesh, the founder of this app, said he built it for himself after realizing how much his digital addictions were affecting his real-world relationships.
United States of America United States, June 2014

 

Diebold’s mobile authentication ATM

In March 2014, Diebold unveiled its mobile authentication ATM at the company’s credit union. Pre-registered customers walk up to the machine and scan a QR code. The ATM responds by sending a one-time passcode to the phone, which can then be used to make a withdrawal or a deposit. NCR offers a similar service. Both platforms allow customers to “pre-stage” mobile cash withdrawals, meaning that the transactions can be initiated with their smartphones long before they’re near an ATM. Once they reach the machine, the transaction can be finished within 10 seconds, eliminating the need — and the risks — of swipe cards and PINs, which are vulnerable to fraud via skimming and eavesdropping.
United States of America United States, March 2014

 

Tinitell

Credit: Tinitell.com

Credit: Tinitell.com

Now, Swedish children can also have their own version of the smartphone. Tinitell is actually a wearable mobile phone for kids. According to its creators, the phone “should perform well and look cool — without being too pricey.” The tiny phone is equipped with a voice-recognition software. To make a call the kids just need to push the button and say the name they want to call. Parents can save a contact list on the app or the website, which gives them full control of all the numbers their kids can call. In addition, they can also monitor what calls are being made through the app or via the web.
Sweden Sweden, May 2014

 

Scentee

Credit: Monomax.tkj.jp

Credit: Monomax.tkj.jp

Smell is one of the most powerful senses and it can turn the smartphone into an even more personal device. Japanese Scentee is a bulbous plastic gadget that plugs into the headphone jack and, in conjunction with the accompanying app, gives a whiff when a new message arrives. Via the free app users can customize the time, scent and color of their notifications. A similar device has been launched in China on Kickstarter. The iScent is a 3D-printed desktop device in the shape of an ancient Chinese tower; which connects to the user’s phone via low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 and emits pulses of custom-scented, atomised mist when the phone receives notifications and calls.
Japan Japan, February 2014 / China China, September 2014

 

Fairphone

Credit: Fairphone.com

Credit: Fairphone.com

Company Fairphone has projected to create the first ever eco-friendly and socially responsible smartphone, which would take social aspect into consideration and control the origin of the materials. Priced 325€, the phone will be equipped with the Android operating system, a 16GB memory and a 4.3 inch screen. It will also accommodate two Sim cards, and will have a removable battery, allowing replacing and recycling it.
Netherlands Netherlands, May 2013

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Don’t fall into the trap of tech interruptions when you introduce your products and services to consumers via an appealing mobile interface interface. Dig deep into usability and experience. Attaining real consumer affinity for a mobile device requires building a smooth, seamless procession into the initial user experience.

2

Enable cross-channel connections. Figure out how to create an experience that connects easily and offers seamless navigation from one screen to the next or even from digital life to real life. Don’t try to be the mobile screen of choice, and focus instead on winning consumers over with flow — the connectivity between different screens and experiences.

3

Maximize the amount of time spent by people on their mobile devices by filling moments or creating on-the-go services. Harness the transformation of interactions between the consumer and his environment, to take a new marketing approach based on time and place.

Summary

  • Smartphones and tablets sales have exceeded those of desktops and laptops making the Internet available in our pockets, handbags et everyday devices.
  • From social media to chats to all kinds of m-shopping apps, the mobile is likely to become the prevalent digital device in the coming years.
  • We have shifted regular tech usage from traditional laptop and desktop to far more personal and contextual smartphones. They are being used to deliver personal relevancy in more situations, locations, and experiences.
  • Mobile devices have brought instant access to action/reaction in all circumstances, everywhere and at any time.
  • According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the worldwide smartphone market grew by 28.6% year over year in the first quarter of 2014.
  • According to the 2012 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, 90% of Millennials surveyed worldwide check their smartphones before they dress, eat, brush their teeth or even get out of bed.

Experts that we recommend

marco-annunziata Marco Annunziata
Chief Economist and Executive Director of Global Market Insight at General Electric
alexis-thobellem Alexis Thobellem
Global Digital Director at Danone
michel-levy-provencal Michel Levy-Provençal
Founder & CEO of TEDxParis, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas