• tingOver 15 years ago, Bill Gates made a few uncanny predictions in his book ‘Business @ the Speed of Thought’, not least of all,

“People will carry around small devices that allow them to constantly stay in touch and do electronic business from wherever they are. They will be able to check the news, see flights they have booked, get information from financial markets, and do just about anything else on these devices.”

Considering the hefty size of mobile phones in 1999, as well as the miniscule array of available applications (calling, texting, and Snake), most of us would have been surprised to know that in 2014 1.3 billion smartphones would be shipped worldwide. Frankly, many of us would have been perplexed by any talk of ‘clever telephones’ whatsoever.

Mobile Usage Today

We’ve now got 1.9 billion global mobile users, around half a million more than last year, and this growth rate shows no sign of slowing. Also, in the last four years mobile internet access has overtaken desktop, and 21% of users now only access the net via mobile devices.

Apps are the primary drivers of media consumption on mobile devices, accounting for around seven out of every eight minutes. Furthermore, 42% of mobile sales generated by 500 leading merchants were made using mobile apps. It’s no surprise then that worldwide mobile app revenue is expected to double in the next few years to $77 billion.

Though younger users are clocking more hours on mobile apps each month, users aged 55 and up average at more than 20 hours per month; overall, the average time people spend on mobile apps has increased by 21% over the last year. While apps being used for news, productivity, and health and fitness don’t rack up many hours, gaming and social networking account for the vast majority of mobile usage time. And this year, only 20% of mobile apps were used only once, down from 22% in 2014.

Remarkable Mobile Stats:
[source 1,2,3]

  • In the US, mobile app usage has increased by 52% in the last year
  • 39% of global mobile connections are classified as broadband (3G or 4G)
  • Ericsson reports that the average global mobile connection uses 900MB of data each month, and total monthly global data usage is approaching 3 billion gigabytes
  • The average smartphone user in the US downloads three apps per month
  • 79% of US smartphone owners use apps nearly every day, and 57% access apps daily
  • Facebook, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay account for nine out of the top ten most used apps.
  • 85% of users prefer using native mobile apps to mobile websites
  • 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of being delivered
  • The majority of smartphone users use their phones to help with their shopping
  • 57% of consumers won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site
  • 75% of Americans take their phones with them into the bathroom


Future Predictions

[source 1, 2]

Next year, 1 billion smartphones will be sold – double that of estimated numbers of PCs to be sold. And it’s expected that there’ll be more mobile internet devices in use globally than there are people. By 2020, 80% of the world’s adults will have smartphones, and thanks to their ease of use, accessibility, and portability, we may be seeing as much as three times the number of smartphones as PCs.

Mobile commerce will continue its rapid growth, with the recent advent of the ‘buy now’ button available on sites such as Twitter and Pinterest hastening the progress. Says Kraig Swensrud, CMO at Campaign Monitor,

“In 2015 marketers will realize that “mobile” is not just a small form factor, but the primary communication vehicle between a company and its customers. It will be a year of opportunity for marketers to re-imagine their digital marketing programs to deliver unique experiences that weren’t possible before.”

It’s also predicted that in five years’ time, half of the current smartphone users will be using mobile wallets as their preferred payment methods. Apps are likely to become more personal, full adoption of video for app marketing is expected, and it’s thought that IoT innovations such as the Nest Thermostat will soon integrate seamlessly into every aspect of our lives.


The Biggest Players in Each Vertical

Currently, travel and lifestyle mobile apps dominate the development charts, followed closely by media and entertainment. Technology, e-commerce, and gaming app development trail slightly. However, when mobile usage is measured, gaming is by far the leading category, with social networking and entertainment handling a large chunk of the time spent on mobile devices. And the fastest growing mobile app categories, evaluating time expended, are music, health and fitness, and social media, with travel and entertainment lagging behind. General usage growth of lifestyle & shopping and utilities & productivity apps is notable, showing a respective 174% and 121% advancement between 2013 and 2014.

21 of the top 25 apps in 2015 are the same as the top 25 apps in 2014 – Google and Facebook continue to dominate. And Facebook Messenger, the fast ranking new entrant, makes clear the importance of messaging as a primary mobile activity. Pinterest, valued at $11 billion, is the most popular app not owned by a public company while Netflix is the most popular subscription app. Interestingly, there are no games in this year’s top 25 apps, and Microsoft is absent from the list.

In summary, mobile is growing at a pace faster than imagination. This is why we at Y Media Labs continue to help our clients innovate in mobile.

Wendy Clark, SVP of Coca-Cola, sums it up concisely:

“If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished.”

Don’t be left behind!