3 Mobile Trends Key To Successful Marketing Going Forward
Looking to reach customers and potential customers on their mobile devices? Columnist Andrew Waber gives marketers critical stats to inform their strategies going forward.
As we approach the holiday season, you’ll be hearing plenty about the impact of mobile on fourth quarter shopping. But it’s worth examining some of the broader issues across the mobile ecosystem that will carry over into the New Year and beyond.
In this column, we’ll touch on three different developments that help frame the North American mobile environment for marketers planning and executing their own strategies in the space.
Trend #1: iOS 8 Uptake Slower, But Still Massive
For the past several years, new major iOS versions have been some of the most watched consumer software releases around the globe. The latest edition, iOS 8, was generally expected to build on Apple’s track record of rapid North American adoption.
However, in perhaps one of the more surprising developments in mobile over the past several months, initial U.S. and Canadian iOS 8 adoption, while still high compared to Android OS updates, lagged significantly behind previous releases.
Almost three weeks following release, iOS 8’s adoption trend (while still impressive) remains far behind that of iOS 7. The driving reason behind this difference is likely the fact iPhone 4S users were highly discouraged from downloading iOS 8 due to subsequent usability issues, despite being technically eligible for the update.
With this in mind, it will presumably take several more weeks or possibly months for iOS 8 users to represent the majority of the North American iOS user base.
While marketers could comfortably look to quickly take advantage of new iOS 7 capabilities (e.g., notification center, multitasking) following that update’s 2013 release, it’s worth being a bit more deliberate this time around to effectively serve the largest potential user base.
Trend #2: Samsung Users Dominating The North American Android Market
It may not be too surprising that the company which spent an industry-leading $14 billion on marketing in 2013 has reaped some substantial returns. What is surprising is the degree to which North American Samsung users as a whole outgun the user bases of every other Android brand.
LG, the next largest Android brand by usage share, is a full 47 percentage points behind Samsung even after its market-leading 1.7 percentage point quarter-over-quarter share gain.
Samsung itself grew its Android usage share by 1 percentage point, likely at least partially due to of a series of discounts on the Samsung Galaxy S5 rolled out by various retailers during the summer months.
Looking further down the list, it’s clear that no brand aside from those at the top are really gaining any substantial traction from a growth perspective. In fact, aside from Samsung and LG, only Amazon, Kyocera, and Verizon posted a usage share increase over the study period, and in the case of those latter three, the rise was only 0.1 percentage points – in essence holding steady.
Keep in mind that brands like Motorola, HTC, and Google are all in between product cycles so their shares may rebound to some degree as their devices come to market in the coming months. However, these data paint a stark picture for online marketers.
Samsung users are, in aggregate, the most active Android user base in the domestic marketplace, and it isn’t at all close. This won’t change any time in the near future, meaning that Samsung users, particularly those using a smartphone, will continue to represent the largest addressable Android market.
Trend #3: iPhone, iPad User Bases Continue To Be Most Active On Mobile
In terms of U.S. smartphone ownership, iPhone users represent 42% of the total market according to a recent ComScore study – a solid plurality.
However, in terms of usage, iPhone users generate a majority of total smartphone traffic within North America, with July figures putting this share at 52.3%.
This usage/market share disparity is even more pronounced within the North American tablet ecosystem. Research firm Canalys recently reported that iPads represent 36% of the total U.S. tablet market. Yet, iPad users generated a full 78% of total North American tablet Web traffic in July 2014.
These statistics, and their differences from traditional ownership metrics, should be a tremendous point of emphasis for marketers operating in either the tablet or smartphone space. Recent statistics from both Apple and Google underscore how Apple users dramatically outspend their Android counterparts.
While those numbers are global, and likely moderate to some degree within North America, it’s reasonable to assume, especially considering the aforementioned usage disparity, that domestic Apple mobile users can be seen as a more attractive market as a whole.
Following the New Year, we’ll circle back to these trends and report on any further developments, which should be interesting to watch in the wake of the Apple Pay launch later this month, along with the tremendous amount of activity surrounding the holiday shopping season.
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