At this point, it’s an understatement to say the mobile landscape is growing.
More than 80 percent of the world’s population will have a smartphone by 2020 — a number that can be both daunting and exciting, given that there are now more mobile devices on the planet than people.
Mobile’s quick growth has implications in a number of areas, including healthcare, transportation and retail. Taken together, that means the mobile industry will increasingly impact the economy in years to come. Between 2009 and 2014, mobile contributed $548 billion to the United States GDP. Six of the 25 most valuable companies in the world make up parts of the mobile value chain: Apple, Google, China Mobile, Alibaba, Facebook and Verizon.
This rapid growth suggests that mobile is about to impact the world more significantly than possibly any other technology to date (if it hasn’t already). Mobile technologies touch every facet of an individual’s life, and as users become more attached to their devices and the possibilities mobile offers, they are guaranteeing further growth of the industry.
According to a report from Boston Consulting Group, “consumers worldwide value mobile technologies at 11 to 45 percent of their income—well above what they pay for the service.” This valuation suggests that consumers see mobile as an essential component of their lives; mobile devices and their potential uses are worth above and beyond what consumers are currently paying for these devices. In 2014, for instance, consumers used mobile apps on smartphones and tablets more than PCs when accessing the internet.
Certain groups of Americans in particular see smartphones as their primary way to get online: younger adults, individuals with lower household incomes and educational backgrounds and people of color. These individuals use smartphones for a number of reasons; of late smartphones are being used for important life events—not just the latest bird-launching game.
Yet, for all the benefits smartphones and mobility are bringing to users, smartphone usage is cited as helpful, but not essential, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. Smartphone owners acknowledge that phones are “not always needed,” while simultaneously recognizing that smartphones are something they “couldn’t live without.”
Pair that with further findings from the Pew study and it becomes apparent that smartphones have a challenge ahead of them. Although smartphones often make users feel “productive” and “happy,” they also lead users to feeling “distracted” and frustrated.
Therefore, as the world looks ahead to mobility, it also has to be a bit wary. What are the best ways to positively engage users with their mobile devices? Mobility is essential. Making that essential experience a good one is important too.