We live in an increasingly mobile-centric world

08 June, 2015 by Admin | DesignStrategyRetailMobile WebWeb

It’s only the first week of July, yet John Lewis CEO Andy Street is already talking about a mobile Christmas. This reflects on both retailers’ obsession with the key Christmas trading period, and on the increasing importance of mobile technology as both a driver of online and in-store sales.

Deloitte research shows that in the space of 10 months smartphone penetration has risen from 58% to 72%, and is in fact considerably higher among younger age groups. Will smartphone penetration ever reach 100%? No. There will always be some people, the very young and the very old, and those who simply aren’t interested, that don’t have smartphones. However, among the survey population, typically 16-64 year olds, we could see penetration go beyond 100% as multiple smartphone ownership becomes more common.

Can’t live without it

Increasing ownership is leading consumers to spend more and more of their lives online and on the move which has implications for all brands looking to remain relevant to this increasingly large group. Mobile technology is the enabler, but it is demand from consumers that is really driving change. It impacts the physical world as much as the virtual world. Smartphones are now used to:

  • search online offers – 46%
  • research products and availability - 57%
  • share experiences, good or bad, via social media – 59%
  • find a store, restaurant or bar – 51%

This is what we call the digital acceleration. More people, living more of their lives online and in more sophisticated and creative ways. For example:

  • 66% of smartphone owners have their phones with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
  • 34% automatically reach first for their smartphone when they need information of any kind about products or services
  • and 42% agreed that if they could have one device on which they could carry out all their communications, entertainment and shopping they would choose their smartphone

Understand the consumer

Mobile is the most disruptive digital technology to date. Understanding consumers’ relationship with mobile technology is therefore essential. At present the ROI on mobile may be unclear. We know that retailers struggle with how to account for online sales in the mutli- or omni-channel environment. To some extent, this is missing point. Online grocery retail may not make money now or in the future, but it is an important service that consumers expect to be offered and therefore retailers have to offer. And it has provided much needed growth in a flat market.

What’s in store for the future?

Our consumer data on Generation Z shows that attitudes and behaviour among younger consumers are already significantly different to the average. These digital natives are the digital families of tomorrow, the core target market of supermarkets, CPG brands and mainstream travel companies alike. Are they going to change their established habits simply because they get older? Or will they instead continue to drive the growth and all pervasive influence of digital and mobile technology moving forward?