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  • The Year of Mobile the Small Screen

    Posted Sep 14th, 2011 By in Mobile, YPM Blog With | No Comments

    Those keeping tabs on the digital space have been hearing about “The Year of Mobile” since around 2005 – the forever promise by digital prognosticators that this would be the breakthrough year for mobile. Fast forward 6 (going on 7) years later, mobile’s growth continues to skyrocket and the booming tablet market is heating up as well.

    Smartphones were predicted in 2010 to take over the market by Q3 2011. They haven’t quite hit those levels yet and newer predictions estimate that will now happen late in 2012.

    SmartPhone or Feature phone, mobile is huge:

    So first the biggest number – 5.2. That is in billions with a B. There are 1.2 billion personal computers in use worldwide including desktops, laptops and tablet PCs like the iPad.

    • There are 1.1 billion fixed landline phones.
    • There are 1.0 billion automobiles registered and in use.
    • There are 1.6 billion television sets, 1.7 billion credit card users, 2.0 billion internet users, 2.2 billion people with a banking account, and 3.9 billion radio receivers in use worldwide.

    Mobile utterly dwarfs them all – with 5.2 billion currently active, i.e. fully paid mobile phone subscriptions.

    Yes, 4.5 times more mobile phone subscriptions than personal computers or landline phones. 2.5x more mobile accounts than all internet users. 3 times more mobile subscribers than the total number of television sets. Mobile is huge.

    Tablets, while still considered a niche market are picking up steam as a preferred method over desktops and laptops primarily due to their portability and ease of operating system interface.

    According to eConsultancy’s “Mobile Ecosystem” by 2012, 57% of professionals expect to use a smartphone or tablet as their primary computing device versus a personal computer.

    Mobile devices appear to be going quite literally hand in hand. Activities for which users engage with their tablet have begun to replace desktop, laptop, eReader and netbook activities while smartphone usage has largely remained the same among tablet users (Nielsen May, 2011). By 2015, it is projected that 65% of Americans will own a smartphone and or a tablet.

    Despite the staggering number of mobile devices, mobile advertising revenues only account for 3% of all mobile services revenues. This means 97% of mobile revenues is generated by the customer – the ultimate ‘opt in’ of subscriptions, apps, etc. In 2010, 15% of all online advertising was spent on mobile advertising which represents a mere 1.6% of the total Advertising and Promotion spend in the US. Clearly there is plenty of room to grow for advertising to catch up with consumerism.

    So what’s a marketer to do to leverage the ‘small screen’? There’s no denying that mobile (just like its search, social, local and media cousins) is a key consideration for an overall integrated digital presence. But before you decide to commission your developers to create yet another of the more than 450,000 iPhone apps or 250,000+ Android apps, think about how you want your target audience to engage with you on a smaller screen, how your business can satisfy an unfulfilled need and how your brand best translates across platforms.

    The planet has 6.9 billion people alive, from babies to great grandparents. Now there is an active mobile phone subscription for 75% of them… Don’t look now, the year of mobile may have indeed arrived.


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