Digital Businesses Address Need For Mobile Ops, Sites

Almost a third (32%) of digital businesses will spend $1 million or more on mobile operations this year, compared to 24% in 2012. With most working with budgets under $1 million, 38% of 145 executives surveyed in the first quarter feel they don't have enough to fund their mobile efforts to be successful.
Forrester's latest "State of Mobile Technology Adoption" report by analyst Julie Ask finds companies typically have enough to fund a basic mobile site and apps -- if they’re simple or built from a single core design. But the price for a native e-commerce app alone can easily run between $500,000 and $1 million, along with spending that amount again annually on hardware and software updates.
Three-quarters of businesses say they have a mobile-optimized site, and nearly all say they will have one by the end of 2013. About a third (31%) have an HTML5-powered mobile site, with 64% planning to launch one by year’s end. On the app side, 88% say they have -- or plan to have -- native apps for iOS, and 74% for Android, this year.
A study by Adobe Systems last month suggested mobile adoption by companies is even lower, with 45% still lacking a mobile-friendly site or app. The finding was based on an eConsultancy survey of more than 1,800 digital marketers across North America, Europe and Asia.
Most businesses start by developing iPhone apps before moving on to Android. That makes sense, given that iPhone users are about 30% more likely to buy products through their devices, and 15% more likely to look up product information. In research first unveiled last fall, Forrester found seven in 10 Phone users (69%) had made purchases on their handsets compared to 53% of Android users.
When it comes to tablets, few companies have a strategy geared to the rapidly growing device type. More than a third (34%) of Americans own a tablet, according to findings released by the Pew Research Center last week. Only 21% of businesses have tablet-optimized sites, but 42% plan to by the end of 2013. About third (34%) had iPad apps, and 15% had apps for Android tablets.
With internal expertise increasing over the last 20 years, Forrester found companies are as likely to build their mobile sites in-house as they are to look outside. About a third created mobile sites themselves, 9% licensed a platform for that purpose, 16% outsourced to agencies, and another 9% turned to their existing e-commerce vendor. Businesses are also increasingly likely to create apps internally, with 26% doing so, and 7% licensing a platform to simplify the process. Some 14% used a mobile-focused agency, 11% used a mobile vendor in their industry, and 9% hired an interactive agency to build apps.
The Forrester report recommended that companies put more resources against mobile development, given that the research firm expects U.S. m-commerce to amount to $39 billion by 2016. For marketing-focused apps, it also advised creating hybrid apps that use Web technologies like HTML5 and CSS within a native app framework to reduce costs.
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