We have recently launched a short video clip outlining the Spindogs teams’ industry predictions for 2014. If you are yet to see it you can find it here, definitely worth a watch!
You will find that my own web prediction was short and sweet to say the least! I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on my thoughts and break down why I believe mobile growth and opportunity has not levelled out just yet. Here are the main game changers:
1. 4G (super-fast mobile internet)
The 4G bandwagon rolled into town during 2013, led by EE’s latest recruit Kevin Bacon. In short, it’s quick, (10x faster internet than the existing 3G bandwidth) allowing a user experience as swift as fibre-optic broadband in the home. Expect this to have a direct correlation to an increase in online mobile purchases as well as an increased use of mobile video and audio streaming when a wifi connection is unavailable. If you are thinking of adding video content to your marketing mix, now is a great time!
One fair criticism of the technology launch is that there is a degree of confusion as to what benefits the new technology brings, and how it differentiates from the already widespread 3G network. To summarise, uptake has been steady to date with many users waiting for their next contract update to join the 4G party. In my opinion the opportunity is too great, and there has been too much investment in the infrastructure for it to fail so I would expect a steady but consistent migration by users over the next 2 years.
2. Smartphones and tablets are becoming more affordable
As Apples’ iPhone is widely expected to enter its 6th generation this year (the first generation was launched way back in 2007!), it’s safe to say that a smartphone is no longer seen as a luxury purchase by the majority of users. Smartphones date back as far as the late 90s; however the iPhone had a considerable influence over the sharp increase of mobile browsing since its inception. The emergence of Apple, Samsung, HTC and other key players into the market over the past 6 years have ensured healthy competition to drive the price of smartphones down. Contract and bundle deals from network operators have also had a considerable impact on price.
Smartphone ownership has grown to 50% (31 million users) in the UK during 2013, largely due to competitive pricing. Expect this figure to rise another 4 million over the next 12 months as smartphone usage continues to grow at an impressive rate.
3. Consumers’ expectations and user habits have changed
As recent as last spring, there was an argument that a “shrunk” website experience was acceptable to consumers, providing there were no specialist requirements. In the UK over the past 12-18 months there has been a considerable shift in user habits on smartphones. We are now far more likely to buy clothing and gadgets or purchase cinema tickets directly on our phone. As with desktop websites, mobile page loading speed is usually paramount. With this in mind, a customised interface streamlined for mobile users has become more important than ever.
4. Mobile design costs have become more competitive
As digital agencies have become more comfortable with the design and development of mobile prototypes, it can now be seen as a standard feature to website design. Responsive design (enabling the design to respond to the screen size) has allowed this to become even more accessible to our clients. The days where mobile design is priced at a premium are thankfully behind us.
Lastly, I would like to pull out some sales data from my own project tracker. Over the past 12 months we have seen one of the fastest product uptakes in Spindogs’ history. In January of 2013, only one in five of my projects had mobile requirement (although we have now been advertising the product option for almost 2 years), we are now looking at as many as 3 in 4 projects.
Based on the above indicators, I can safely predict that 2014 will see the mass migration to mobile continue. If you are in the bay please feel free to drop in for a cuppa, would love to hear the impact that mobile marketing is having on your company!