October 20, 2010

Mobile Moment: Mobile Usage Amongst Nations & Consumer Expectations


For companies seeking new online markets, the mobile webspace has become more than an intriguing opportunity - it's a booming environment for brand building and business. A few statistics:

According to Nielsen, smartphone sales represented 25 percent of all mobile phone purchases in 2Q 2010.
Gartner reports a nearly 25 percent increase in smartphone sales in 2009 from 2008. Morgan Stanley Research recently estimated that smartphones sales will leapfrog PC sales in 2012.

Where do these consumers live, and what are their expectations of mobile web experiences? Companies eager to embrace mobile markets may find insight from reports recently published by comScore.

According to comScore, Japan ranks highest in mobile phone usage, with 7.2 percent of its population accessing online retail sites on their phones in June. The U.S. ranks second with 5.5 percent, followed by 4.1 percent of citizens from a collection of five European countries comScore named the “EU5” (United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain and Italy).

Within those segments, 75.2 percent of Japanese mobile phone owners used browsers or applications to access the Internet via their phones that month. Nearly 44 percent of Americans did the same. The EU5's users ranked third, with 38.5 percent.

But simply providing content to these markets may not be enough to differentiate companies, suggests comScore's Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile. Organisations must diligently study the behaviors of their target users.

"As we look across markets, dramatic differences in mobile media consumption, brand adoption and user behaviour become evident," Donovan said. "These differences are even more pronounced than they are for PC-based Internet usage. ... For brands seeking to establish a multi-market presence, understanding usage dynamics across geographies is essential to implementing a successful global mobile marketing strategy."

Partnering with companies that provide these data-driven insights and best practices make engaging new mobile markets far easier - especially when goals include providing content in other languages to international customers. MotionPoint provides such expertise.

Once mobile markets are identified, be certain to deliver on the expectations of their users, experts say. What they want is speed — which translates to nimble, fast-loading mobile sites.

Last week, Internet Retailer and mobile and web performance management firm Keynote Systems Inc. debuted a service that measures mobile site performance.

This index "offers a good look at just how solid a retailer needs to be when it comes to site performance," recently wrote senior editor Bill Siwicki. The index ranked QVC's mobile site as an exceptional example for other companies to emulate, particularly because of its peppy performance and low load time.

"If you go to the QVC mobile site, you will see that it has pared down its offerings to include only a few links to featured products and very little imagery," he explained. "Other retailers may find they require more imagery and more content for the home page, but that has to be balanced with speed."

Perhaps most important: “The lesson here is keeping things light,” Siwicki said.


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