Consumers love their smartphones. Now businesses must fall in love with mobile.

Monday, February 27, 2012 | 5:00 AM


Consumers are having a love affair with their smartphones. They have become the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we put down at night. How do we know? We asked them. In January, we completed our new “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” research, conducted with Ipsos, to drive a deeper understanding of how consumers use their smartphones.

Smartphone ownership has jumped globally - increasing 11% to 44% of the total population in Spain and by 7% to 38% of the total population in the US.  Smartphone owners are always using their device - in France, 90% use their mobile devices to access the web every day.  Smartphone owners are using their device everywhere - in Germany, 67% of smartphone owners use their mobile device while on public transport. Smartphone owners are not just browsing, they are taking action - in the UK, 84% of smartphone owners look for local information on their mobile and 78% take action afterwards such as calling or visiting the business.

This consumer love affair with their mobile devices is transforming how consumers connect and live their lives. It is also transforming industries, creating new opportunities and changing how businesses engage with their customers. I believe we will see significant advances in mobile this year and the companies who fall in love with mobile will be best positioned to capitalize on them. Here are my 12 predictions for the major developments we will see in mobile in 2012:

  1. More than 1 billion people will use mobile devices as their primary internet access point.
  2. There will be 10 days where >50% of trending search terms will be on mobile
  3. Mobile’s role in driving people into stores will be proven and it will blow us away
  4. “Mobile driven spend” will emerge as a big category
  5. Smartphones will prove exceptional at driving a new consumer behavior
  6. Tablets will take their place as the 4th screen
  7. New industry standards will make mobile display easy to run
  8. 5 new, mobile first companies will reach the Angry Birds level of success
  9. The ROI on mobile and tablet advertising will increase as a result of the unmatched relevance of proximity
  10. The intersection of mobile and social will spark a dramatic new form of engaging consumers
  11. 80% of the largest 2,000 websites globally will have an HTML5 site
  12. One million small businesses globally will build a mobile website
Businesses are no longer asking why do I need to go mobile. Now they are asking how do I go mobile. How can my brand find success in the mobile space? How can I maximize the relationship with my customers on mobile? The answer is to truly operationalize mobile. This year we are challenging businesses to fall in love with mobile, align their organization for mobile success, and create a mobile website.  The companies who choose to ignore their mobile customers will miss an incredible opportunity and risk getting left behind.  So get going.

Download the “Our Mobile Planet: Global Smartphone Users” report to learn more about smartphone usage and mobile consumer behavior in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France,  Spain and Japan.

Posted by Jason Spero, Head of Global Mobile