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Image Source: Jason A. Howie
Daniel Knowles

Future profiles of the mobile consumer

The continued increase in mobile phone & tablet use is having a huge impact and how companies approach their marketing activities. Over the next few years the landscape is set to continue evolving as more and more users switch from desktop to tablet and mobile. Here we explore some of the changes in the mobile customer and how they will affect marketing activity.

In 2013 sales of mobile devices and tablets across the globe increased by over half a billion and this is expected to continue. By 2018 8.2bn mobile devices are expected to be in use by consumers. Consumers these days are used to using multiple devices to undertake a variety of tasks simultaneously as 63% of users confess to using a tablet or mobile at the same time as browsing using a desktop or other hardware. The recent announcement of a strategic partnership between Apple and IBM underlines the need for technology companies to adapt equipment for business and consumer use.

For online retailers the shift in dynamic will have a wide ranging impact, not least in ensuring that online shops are capable of responding to mobile friendly platforms. Currently e-commerce sales in 2013 reached $636bn across the globe. In 2018 predictions show that mobile devices alone will see sales hit $626bn. On Black Friday Paypal, the online payments provider saw a 115% increase in people processing payments through the site whilst Amazon saw more than 50% of its users purchase products using mobile in Q4 of 2013.

Changes in mobile do not only impact online retailers. For any company with a high street presence mobile will develop new ways of increasing footfall and enhancing the shopping experience. In the current market 90% of consumers admit to using mobile devices to check things like store locations and opening times. Contactless payments, the mobile wallet and other value add services have already become a part of the shopping experience. In future companies will use mobile to enhance the wider shopping experience such as parking, access, evening and night time shopping. Further enhancements in the use of augmented reality, such as talking display units which come to life using an app will improve the real-life shopping experience.

Over the last few years the high street has seen a huge growth in a variety of loyalty schemes, with the likes of cafes and restaurants in particular using stamps and cards to encourage repeat custom. As schemes like this move digital and data is tracked expect improvements to loyalty packages. Furthermore the voucher and coupon, which remains popular in print form has made the leap to online. Offers such as buy one get one free, percentage and cash discounts are all popular and once again, with improved data capture methodology consumer habits can be mapped extensively. On top of these developments the last few years have seen an enormous rise in the use of QR and NFR codes, to help identify products. These changes are set to continue with enhanced capability.

When developing a mobile strategy the importance of media and channel will impact on the buying behaviour of the consumer. Data capabilities and network speeds will continue to increase with more widespread 4G coverage, meaning faster and more efficient downloads. Over the next few years we are expected to see a fall in the amount of text communication with a significant increase (over 60% by 2018) in video.

Social will continue to dominate the communication platform landscape over the next few years. One of the major developments in social media marketing will see the growth in ambient commerce. As scientists improve the capabilities in data analysis ambient commerce will be able to predict the buying habits of consumers before the actual purchase is made, allowing advertisers to effectively second guess what and when consumers purchase.

Social also impacts upon the communal way in which shoppers behave. Likes and shares on products, as well as the sharing of good experiences through status updates social media, can help retailers leverage major benefits from the experiences of shoppers. 92% of purchasers do so following a recommendation of someone they trust on a social media site, and 70% of purchasers are likely to trust consumer opinions posted online. The importance of social is underlined further with the fact that Facebook currently has over 1.2bn active users with over 700m posting on a daily basis.

The phenomenal growth of price comparison has helped to create a savvier shopper who is more inclined to seek out bargain purchases. As mobile technology improves shoppers will be able to identify products in-store and then instantly seek cheaper alternative suppliers online. Group purchasing has had a similar impact as companies purchase utility and other deals in bulk from service providers in order to provide savings to the end user.

It’s worth bearing in mind the changes in the mind-set of the millennial as we analyse shopping habits. Over recent years attitudes towards social initiatives have improved, with shoppers and communities alike becoming less tolerant of greed and exploitation. Brands such as Toms footwear and Innocent smoothies have been high profile beneficiaries of the more ethically conscientious shopper.

Finally the continued use of apps, for a variety of uses will continue to be a huge part of mobile shopping. In 2013 Apple recorded over 50bn app downloads with a market place of approximately 1m apps. Apps are also being developed with a diverse range of uses, for example there is currently an app available which patients can use to send pictures of rashes and bumps to doctors in order to receive a diagnosis without having to attend a surgery.

Mobile technology is having a huge impact on the changing nature of consumers and this dynamic is clearly set to continue. As your business moves further into the 21st Century is your business ready to go mobile?

Article published on behalf of Vouchercloud. For more details including an infographic profile please visit www.vouchercloud.com

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