Years from now, it’s possible that really smart watches or really, really smart glasses could replace smartphones as the linchpin of our digital lives.
But in a new report, Forrester Research says it doesn’t expect that day to come for at least the next decade.
In the meantime, phones will increasingly coordinate digital experiences -- whether it involves the Web, an app, a cross-channel shopping experience, or any form of content consumption.
In a fresh forecast, Forrester expects the mobile core of these digital experiences to evolve along three dimensions -- channel, context, and construction -- and in four stages -- from owned moments in siloed apps or websites to borrowed moments in blended experience ecosystems.
As such, the mobile Web is beginning to eclipse the desktop Web, with 4.9 billion unique mobile subscribers owning more than 3.7 billion smartphones in 2017.
And more than half of U.S. consumers have already “shifted” -- meaning they expect to get everything they want or need immediately, using all available context, each time they pick up their mobile device.
As Forrester sees it, businesses can only meet these expectations if they view mobile as “an enabler of experience transformation” -- something that only 43% of digital business executives confirm their firms have done.
To reach this level of mobile integration, Forrester estimates that businesses have to shell out between $5 million to $20 million, while only 43% are prepared to spend this sort of money.
Among other issues, businesses continue to drag their feet on location technology to track consumers across channels.
Last year, only 14% of digital business executives said their company had made sufficient investments in this area.
Meanwhile, among other successful models, Forrester points to Target, Walgreens, and Walmart -- all of which offer an in-store mode if they detect that consumers are inside one of their retail locations.
Yet most firms’ mobile strategies focus on a customer downloading and using their brand’s app, and consumers already have enough apps.On average, consumers use only seven apps in a given day and 25 in a given month. That’s despite the availability of more than 2 million apps.