With tablet sales skyrocketing and smartphone sales booming a mobile website seems like a no brainer. Or is it? First let’s do some numbers.
There are currently 6 billion mobile phones in use in the world (source). Total smartphone sales in 2011 reached 472 million units up 58 percent from 2010. This makes smartphones 31 percent of all handsets shipped (Gartner, February 2012). In 2012 predictions are 686 million smartphones will be sold which will be 38 percent of all handsets shipped (IDC, June 2012). In the Netherlands this percentage is expected to already be at 60%. European consumption of Mobile Media is booming. 75 percent of smartphone users in the EU5 (Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain) used mobile media in October 2011, an increase of 62 percent in the past year (Source: Emerce)
Tablets > Desktops
At the end of 2011 the Dutch had 1.2 million tablets, resulting into approximately 2.4 million tablet users. End2012 expectations: 2.2 million tablets, 4.4 million users (source). This means 26% of the total Dutch population will use an iPad, Galaxy Tab or the likes (Sanoma). According to IDC the number of tablets sold is expected to hit 107.4 million by the end of 2012, rising to 142.8 million by 2013. IDC actually states desktop PCs will still sell fractionally more than that in the same timescale – 161.5 million units in 2013 – but there are other analysts whose figures back up Microsoft’s presumption tablets will sell out Desktops (IDC, June 2012).
Mobile: website | app | social?
I guess the point is surfing the web mobile with smartphone or tablet is big and will become even bigger. Still the question remains: Is a mobile website necessary or should brands switch to Facebook or for example build an app? As usual, start with a strategy and define your objectives. Generally speaking a mobile website should be your first step in developing a mobile presence, whereas an app can be very useful for a very specific purpose that cannot be effectively accomplished via a web browser. A mobile website has a number of inherent advantages over apps, including broader accessibility, compatibility and cost-effectiveness. Here’s a pretty helpful infographic I found on Mashable. So what about Facebook then? In my view, Facebook is a whole different story as it should be used when a brand wants to start a dialogue with consumers. It’s not the best way for one way brand messaging.
Brand Opportunity: Time spend vs. Ad spend
Now let’s see if there is potential brand opportunity for mobile. Eh, that would be “YES”! In comparison with the time spend, the ad spend is totally lost when it comes to mobile. There is a discussion about the amount of potential, but named numbers leave plenty of room for growth even in more pessimistic scenario’s. In the US 23% of mediatime is done on mobile devices, whilst media spendings bij brands/companies is 1%. In the Netherlands penetration of smartphones is even higher than the US digits (Source: Emerce). Furthermore it is also commercially viable as Comscore recently stated: “Mobile retail is one of the fastest growing activities amongst smartphone users (…) in major countries in Europe as (…) (o)ver 13 million smartphone users access mobile retail sites.”
-Mobile strategy? Yes. Smartphone and tablet penetration is big & increasing by the day.
-Mobile website? Most probably, depending on your goals.
-App? Opportunity, if & when having a specific purpose in mind.
-Facebook? Likely, but only when you want to start a dialogue (That’s two ways peeps).