Back in the old days, we used to tune out of something by staring blankly into space. Today, we have help from our fancy mobile devices – where we can spend hours mindlessly clicking around. In today's so-much-choice-everywhere culture, it's gotten increasingly hard to reach consumers – especially men. There is always another option to tune into now – listen to, read, stream, share, buy – and it’s all at your fingertips.
With the increased amount of high-speed data networks thanks to the telcos, your hand held phone is now getting most of your attention when on the go. Yes, we've all heard it's the year of mobile. But increasingly, we are seeing a rapid adoption of new media that is available on your handheld device.
We saw this first hand with the launch of our mobile application for our members-only shopping club. Within a few months of our launch, we had 200,000 downloads and 20% of our total revenue coming through the app. Through this process, we’ve also grown to better understand how men like to shop. Most men like shopping to be as quick and painless as possible – so rather than spending a whole day weaving in and out of stores, they can get what they need on the go and not waste any time doing it.
While commerce is helping to drive greater adoption of mobile usage, social has been there for years, connecting people around the planet. For men, sports, music, entertainment, navigation, and commerce are tops.
In a recent Pew Internet Report study, men were noted as more likely than women to use “just-in-time” searches on their smartphones (looking for answers to immediate questions). More research shows that women tend to use their mobile devices more for talking and texting, versus men who use their smartphones more for a utility. This research indicates a great opportunity for brands to reach men via mobile – as they tend to be most comfortable in that environment. And many companies have been capitalizing on this trend (i.e., Fab.com, Brooks Brothers, GMC, ESPN and eBay).
So, what can we take away from this understanding of how men use mobile? Well, as a new consumer-facing company today, designing for mobile first should seriously be considered. A few years ago, companies designed for the web and then created mobile as a supplement to their website. Today, businesses should be building for mobile first and web second – especially those targeting men specifically – as it can create great opportunity as it relates to customer retention and brand loyalty. For example, I’m a fan of what Path is doing with their social networking app designed exclusively for mobile without any web version.
Morgan Stanley’s Research’s Mobile Internet Report highlights that mobile internet adoption is outpacing the growth of desktop internet adoption – in fact, smartphones are expected to out-ship the global PC market in 2012. Additionally, heavy mobile data users will triple to one billion by 2013. So, you can see how vast this opportunity is for new mobile businesses.
I think the year of mobile was yesterday, and it’s now the year of mobile opportunity.