Digital & Social Media

Mobile Rules


58 minutes largeWhat Happened: By the middle of next year, tablets will be outselling personal computers, projects Alex Wilhelm in TechCrunch, based on what he calls simple trend analysis. Wilhelm notes that PC sales growth has been slipping steadily while people can’t seem to get enough of tablets. Tech research experts IDC recently raised its forecast for how much PC sales will decline this year to 7.8 percent from 1.3 percent—and Wilhem claims “that still feels optimistic.” Tablet sales in contrast may grow as much as 59 percent in 2013, IDC estimates. IDC itself predicts that tablet sales will overtake PCs in 2015. Meanwhile, another survey also shows the magnetism of mobile. According to Experian Marketing Services, adult consumers spend an average of 58 minutes on their smartphones daily. Of those precious minutes, 26 percent is spent on calls; 20 percent texting; 16 percent social networking; 14 percent visiting websites; and 8 percent on games. Perhaps surprisingly, less than 1 percent of the time is spent on watching videos, but that is because so few smartphone owners even try (only 2.3 percent). IPhone owners spend more time on their phones—an average of one hour and 15 minutes—while Android owners only spend on average 49 minutes. There also is a difference in the way Apple-versus-Android owners use their devices, with iPhone users less likely to talk on the phone and more likely to text, email, social network or take pictures. Experian has reported that 15 percent of users made a purchase on their mobile phone in this year’s survey, double what it was in 2012.

What This Means for Brands: Brands need increasingly to design and plan campaigns with mobile devices as the primary mode of communication, not as an afterthought. At the very least, brands have to be deft at cross-channel marketing. If we are to believe Experian, that is currently not the case. At a recent conference in Las Vegas, Experian told attendees that only 8 percent of marketers have effectively implemented cross-channel strategies. The main obstacle, Experian says, is data—how to use it and how to compare it across channels. But at the rate consumers are switching to mobile devices, brands really don’t have the luxury of a learning curve.

Contributing to TRENDING this week are Lucy Arnold, Julie Louvau and Abby Ray. Edited by Pat Wechsler.