|Let’s face it: the world is getting more mobile by the minute. All you have to do is walk down the street and you’ll see the evidence — every third person is staring at a smartphone, oblivious to anything not rendered in pixels.|
In a matter of a few years, mobile devices have gone from an unnecessary luxury to an absolutely integral part of our lives. Mobile devices are fundamentally changing the way we work, communicate and entertain ourselves. In short, they are changing the way we live.
They’re also responsible for massive changes in business. Companies are radically changing the way they operate to keep pace with the mobile market. No one wants to get left behind.
One of the more eye-opening statistics with regard to mobile growth comes from a report issued by Webcertain. According to their data, 19 percent of worldwide Internet traffic is generated by mobile devices. That number is significantly higher in certain countries. South Korea and Indonesia both boast mobile traffic rates about 30-percent. In India, mobile traffic is an amazing 50-plus percent of overall Web traffic, reflecting the exponential growth that country has seen in mobile use over the last decade.
Trend in mobile growth to extend across 2014
Given the growth of mobile over the last few years, how is 2014 shaping up? Mobile technologist Jason Hope expects “the significant upward trend in mobile growth to extend across 2014. Social networking and coupon applications will continue to be major growth drivers in the space.”
For evidence to support that claim, look no further than the production numbers coming from hardware manufacturers. According to a recent report, Sony is planning to ship 65 million smartphones in fiscal 2014. That’s an increase of 55-percent from 2013, when the Japanese electronics titan manufactured 42 million.
Technology research firm Gartner projects 1.9 billion cell phones will be shipped in 2014, an increase of 80 million over 2013 projections. This is attributed to the desire of consumers to have computing options available anytime and anywhere. The mobile market is of key importance in emerging and mature markets, according to Gartner.
Countries such as Brazil, Russia, Indonesia and China are expected to provide the foundation for near-term mobile growth. China currently ranks first worldwide with 1.2 billion phones nationwide. That’s more than three times the number of phones in circulation in the United States, and one-third higher than the world’s number two market, India. India remains the fastest growing mobile market, however, and the most significant driver of growth in the mobile space. Another factor driving growth in the mobile market is improved sales from secondary device makers.
Several factors will boost growth in 2014 and the coming years. Increased network speeds and increased availability of 4G connections will be a market driver. Smartphone adoption in developing countries will also have a major influence on growth in the mobile space. With downward pressure on prices and more lower-price point models available, consumers in developing countries represent a massive untapped market that will continue to drive mobile growth for years to come.
So why is mobile poised to continue and even grow in importance? To answer that, we need look no further than the mirror. An estimated 8 out of 10 adults own a cellphone, and those phones are becoming more intertwined with our lives every day. Before the advent of smartphones, many of us could adopt a “take it or leave it” attitude toward mobile and not be penalized for it. These days, mobile technology is so integrated into our lives it’s exceedingly difficult to separate yourself from the technology.
Smartphones have allowed workers to increase their productivity, though often at the cost of their own leisure time. They’ve also introduced fundamental changes to the way we maintain friendships, entertain ourselves and communicate socially. Every day new applications hook us deeper, offering fresh conveniences and new entertainment. One only has to look at the rapid growth in shopping and coupon apps to see how mobile technology can inspire deep changes in consumer behavior, all while deepening the relationship between the user and the device.
And in 2014, you can expect these dramatic changes — and significant growth — to continue unabated.
Amy Taylor is a technology and business writer. Amy began her career as a small business owner in Phoenix, Arizona. She has taken that knowledge and experience and brought that to her unique writing capabilities. She really enjoys new business related issues that are tied directly to technology.