In today’s economy, there are nearly 7 Billion mobile subscriptions around the globe. While the adoption is highest in the developed markets such as Europe and the United States, the market growth will come from the developing world, which is reflected in sales figures in mobile devices.
The initial and primary use is communication, which began many years ago with the basics of voice and SMS functionality. However, as of 2013, Smartphone sales exceeded the sale of feature phones for the first time. This transition by the global user base has accelerated quickly with the launch cheaper and simpler devices thanks to new players in the market such as Xiaomi who beat Apple in the Chinese market last year, the Firefox OS and the components, such as the Snapdragon chipset. With the migration to smartphones, the demand and use of data services such as mobile apps has accelerated as well, leading to the accelerated growth of messaging apps such as WeChat and Whatsapp.
Thanks to the rapid advancement of the mobile hardware and software, we have noticed the migration from desktop to mobile (both phones and tablets) accelerate in recent years. From the initial reading, to reviewing and redemption actions – they are all possible now via mobile in the always on and connected environment. However we must not forget the variations in the consumer profiles, from age and profession, to location and culture. As anyone with global experience can confirm, the entire world is not always connected, always responding and always communicating in the same manner or channel.
“Mobile First” is known to many as a buzzword that was used in the past year for startups to position themselves in a category and set themselves into a leadership position with their development and offerings to the end users such as Uber and Hotel Tonight. However, what many in the developed markets forget is the “mobile only” users that are present around the world. The use of mobile in the emerging markets might begin with voice and SMS, but it quickly skips over other developed markets to have their mobile devices serve as their television, credit card and online bank.
With less development in the markets, we tend to see less regulation, and this has helped spur innovation and new developments as a result. You notice that there are new payment options and channels in emerging markets that would never pass the regulatory hurdles within startup timeframes in established more mature markets like the United States. At the same time, there are those who are under-connected in the markets, and what they see as the primary way to play sports and obtain education is via mobile. The computers connect to a wireless signal along with their mobile devices, where they can watch games, play automated games of their favorite sports and follow their favorite players. They might use antennas on their iPhones that you never see or imagine in your home market. It is quite different than the experience and communication links present to those in the established and well-wired world.
This relates to my personal passion to work in mobile throughout my career as it serves as a connection and enabler to many who did not have access before. It is not only for communication but also for education and access among the different socio–economic groups and classes around the globe.
So share your insights and comments – how did you first learn to play sports? Was it in person in an open field, at school, or online or via mobile? How do you see this changing in the upcoming years where mobile is serving as an enabler and only channel to those who were not connected before? Does this make an impact in your technology or marketing plans? Your investments?
This post was originally published on HourlyNerd