Mobile Trends 2013: What's The Bottom Line?

Having been in and around mobile since 1997 — there was mobile messaging and early WAP or mobile Web back then — 2012 really struck me as a monumental year.

Smartphones are no longer in their infancy—they are powerful computers in our pockets and purses. The consumer adoption has been dramatic across many demographic segments, not just the early adopters.   

With that in mind, 2013 promises to be even bigger, and there are many trends we’re anticipating as continued adoption, both by consumers and at the enterprise level, progresses.

Continued and increasing fragmentation:

The fragmentation of operating systems, devices and browsers continues. Apple and iOS used to be consistent, but now versions come more frequently, new sizes like the iPad mini add complexity to creating optimal experiences across devices and new feature integration means constant running by developers to stay ahead of the game.

Android manufacturers each have their own flavor of the operating system and create device nuances to differentiate from competitors, which is great for consumers, but makes the backend challenging.  

T there’s HTML5, thought to be a panacea as a browser-based solution, but still no standards are in place, so, as Facebook realized, it’s not the be all end all.

Bottom line:  Apps are still ahead in 2013 and developers have their work cut out.

More adoption on the enterprise front:  

Clearly, Blackberry is no longer the winner for business. Android and iOS have become entrenched in many organizations. IT groups are supporting BYOD (bring your own device), which provides great opportunities for businesses to increase productivity and save costs.  Mobile and tablets are now seen as tools for efficiency, digitalization of documents (think sales materials, training, etc.) and more.  This goes for both F1000 and SMBs.

Bottom Line: The accessibility and proliferation of mobile by consumers has driven the message home for the enterprise as well.   

Mobile shopping and mobile payments will continue to increase dramatically:  

Signs were clear throughout the year and the holiday season has cemented mobile’s impact on retail and shopping. Consumers are using mobile as tools for discovery, price comparison and LBS to drive to local businesses. Smart retailers are staying ahead of the game by offering shoppers tools for better experiences, deals and to create loyalty. They are also deploying mobile devices to sales associates as a means to seal the deal, through highlighting products, upselling and easily accessing inventory.

Bottom line: Mobile is now integral to both the buying and selling process.  Mobile payments are also starting. and we’ll see more of this in 2013.

Increasing adoption of augmented reality:

Augmented reality is still an interesting story to tell from the marketing end.  Brands can get more creative as the technology improves. Consumers now have the awareness they can use their phones to unlock information and entertainment via AR. That said, it’s still not very widespread, so we’ll see what happens.

Bottom line: Augmented reality will have another year of experimentation. We’ll see more creativity and more adoption as consumer knowledge and easier access spreads.

As we saw this year, mobile is becoming more a part of the fabric of our daily lives and this will continue in 2013 for consumers and business. It’s an exciting and ever-changing time for the industry. Mobile will continue to gain momentum and prove its efficacy for marketers.

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