For anyone still dubious about mixing mobile with business, it’s time to get used to the new reality: Mobile is no longer the future. It’s the present. Everywhere you look, the signs point to more and more growth for mobile—and we haven’t even seen the wearable device movement take off yet. The numbers speak for themselves:
- According to The New York Times, the mobile industry is now valued at more than $1.6 trillion. It’s expected to spike to a multi-trillion dollar industry in the next ten years.
- Almost a billion smartphones were shipped in 2013, according to Business Insider.
- On average, we spend one hour each day on our smartphones.
- Perhaps most important of all, mobile devices are the only media devices growing with regards to how much time we spend using them. Time spent on mobiles increased another 8% in 2013, while time spent on desktop, radio, and print all decreased. Amazingly, over a fifth of all Internet traffic is now happening via mobile devices.
And we’re not just using mobiles for fun and games anymore. Mobile devices now account for about 25% of e-commerce traffic and 13% of e-commerce sales. PayPal witnessed $30 billion in mobile transactions in 2013, while Starbucks saw a billion dollars. Apple, meanwhile, earned $10 billion in app revenue last year.
Let’s also remember that the great mobile boom is changing small businesses just as much as big ones—if not more so. A recent survey commissioned by AT&T and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council found that small business owners save some $67.5 billion a year by using mobile apps, tablets, and smartphones in their day-to-day business activities. “Apps offer small businesses a means to increase revenues and visibility, as well as enhance the customer experience,”Marla Tabaka explains in Inc. “Whether you own a restaurant, offer a service, write a blog, run events, or manage a DIY platform, you can grow your business just by adding an app.”
The revenue is expected to just keep coming. In her recent State of the Internet talk, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers partner Mary Meeker predicted use of mobiles will keep growing. Meeker sees a $30 billion opportunity in U.S. mobile advertising alone, as consumers spend more and more time on the channel.
Those in the marketing industry take note: Mobile app revenue now accounts for 68% of mobile monetization, making it the biggest opportunity for marketers. What’s more, Gartner predicts that global revenue from app stores will further increase 62% this year to $25 billion.
One vertical that will especially benefit from the mobile boom is the travel industry, with PhoCusWright estimating that by 2015 mobile will make up a quarter of U.S. online travel sales and a fifth of bookings in Europe. This is up from 2% of U.S. online bookings in 2011.
With this kind of growth, it’s no wonder that the Mobile World Congress trade show is such a huge event—this February there were a record 72,000 attendees. As the Times puts it, the event has “evolved from a networking event for industry insiders to a convention where companies from all corners gather to introduce new gear, services, and partnerships to gain attention in an increasingly crowded market.”
It comes down to this: Mobile has become a key channel for reaching customers and sparking sales, whether or not those sales actually occur on a phone. If you’re running a business—big or small—and mobile is not a central part of your strategy, you’re missing out. Big time.
Do you agree? How do you see mobile impacting your business? Share your thoughts!