Over recent years, mobile phones have become increasingly powerful and, in turn, intrinsically valuable for our everyday lives. We use our smartphones multiple times a day to communicate with others, provide directions, capture special moments, shop for products, and research, amongst many other uses.
In just one year (2013), global media data grew by 81%, with over half a billion mobile connections added. Most people would struggle to go a day or two without their phones. Influencing not only how we communicate with our friends and family, as well as the way we work, phones have also completely changed the way we shop too.
Although their impact can be felt across all realms of life, it’s here where smartphones are revolutionizing the way things work. Whereas shopping was previously carried out from a more conventional desktop computer or laptop, as well as in-person, more and more consumers are now shopping while on the bus, at a restaurant, or even sitting in the park.
The power of such connectivity is changing the world of commerce as we know it:
- By 2018, e-commerce sales are estimated to reach $626 billion
- 30% of current e-commerce transactions in Japan come from a mobile
- More than 50% of Amazon consumers completed a purchase on a mobile device in 4Q13
- 90% of consumers already use their smartphones for pre-shopping activities, including finding the location and opening hours of a business
But it’s not just the way consumers are shopping that’s changing. Smartphones are also changing the way we’re encouraged to shop and spend more. Using data mining, businesses are offering a more personalized approach to goods and services. Some are even trailing ‘ambient commerce’, anticipating consumers’ needs and providing goods automatically.
Social media is also being used to bridge the gap between friendship and commerce, as brand experiences are expected to become increasingly personalized. With 1.23 billion active Facebook users, it’s an opportunity business can’t afford to miss.
Even when we do hit the shops in person, our smartphones still play an important part in the process, using contactless technologies to pay or redeeming in-app vouchers, for instance. Contactless, Near Field Communication (NFC) point-of-sale terminals are predicted to increase to 44.6 million by 2017. You can expect to pay to become an easier and seamless experience. In fact, you might want to download an app to help with your budgeting. As of October 2013, 1 million Apple apps were available, so you’ll definitely find something to suit your needs.
Looking ahead to the future, consumers will be more informed than ever before and businesses will have to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. If you want to keep up-to-speed with what’s changed, check out this great infographic. It details a portrait of the mobile consumer, including informative statistics and predictions of what to expect from your smartphone next.
Infographic: Portrait of a Mobile Consumer