A Deep Dive Into The Latest Eye-Popping Mobile Trends

Heres a recent article I wrote on the Paypal network x.com titled A Deep Dive into Mary Meeker’s Latest Talk Yields Eye-Popping Mobile Trend.  Below are the mobile trends shaping the next phase of our world I cover in the article.

Smartphone Growth

The first major takeaway from Meeker’s latest talk is the astounding growth yet to be seen in smartphones worldwide. She illustrates the point on the following slide: approximately 953 million out of a total 6.1 billion devices are smartphones. Doing the math, one can see there is only a small portion, about 15% of the worldwide mobile devices, being considered smartphones. To put it bluntly: you are a minority in our world if you have anything more than a feature phone in your hand.

3G Wireless Penetration and Tablets

Another incredible observation involves 3G mobile wireless penetration. At last count, there were a little more than a billion people using 3G mobile wireless connections, again representing just a small fraction of all mobile users around the world.

Augmenting the rise in mobile usage is the adoption of mobile readers and tablets. A chart shows the rise in tablets dating back just a few short years. In Q2 of 2009, roughly 2% of adults owned tablets or eReaders. Comparing that to January 2012, where 29% of adults owned tablets, you start to see the tide rising—and fast.

Mobile Monitization Troubles

In addition to mobile growth, another data point Meeker brings forth is how the sea change of mobile drastically impacts monetization, both online and offline. Take, for instance, the difference between the time people spend using mobile devices versus ad spend on mobile. Time spent on mobile devices each week is estimated at 10% (and growing), yet only about 1% of ad spend is currently focused on mobile. Accordingly, Meeker says it represents a $20 billion+ opportunity in the U.S. alone.

Jon Evans (via TechCrunch) has a great quote:

In 10–20 years’ time, everyone on the planet has a smartphone, and/or some even smaller and more ubiquitous form of wireless access. Indeed, the whole notion of “online” disappears, as the Internet is woven into literally every facet of our waking life. As this happens, what company defines our identity, and becomes the gateway to every activity and every service?

The bigger business opportunity for leveraging the mobile device is to understand all the unique ways it fits into consumers’ daily life, and orient business models around and within those unique use cases. One of the most interesting monetization opportunities mobile presents is to augment the payment experience. From a previous article on mobile payments:

Virtual transactions—making payments without having to swipe, show, or display anything—will transform the payments landscape like never before. Since people carry their mobile devices with them everywhere, it makes the most sense to streamline transactions through the computer in their hands. True authentic mobile payments do not require any hardware outside of the mobile device. With cloud computing and offsite secure services holding payment credentials for every consumer, people can now make simple, quick, and easy mobile payments anywhere. As the consumer, the terminal is now in your hands.

Taking that a step further, the mobile platform is playing an ever-larger part in consumer shopping and buying processes. Even when consumers do not complete transactions via mobile, large numbers of shoppers use their phones to take pictures of potential purchases, access online reviews, compare prices, consult friends and family, locate nearby stores, add items to an online shopping list, or place an order. All of those actions can and will be augmented with business models outside of traditional display advertising.

Those were just a few snippets, go ahead and read the whole thing.

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