So what are the main specific areas where mobile users are expanding their horizon’s by using mobile apps? Well photography, travel and finance lead the way with above 100% year on year increases in app use.
Photography is being fueled by Instagram amongst others as mobile phones develop more sophisticated and powerful cameras.
People are using travel apps to do everything from researching hotels to booking flights, reading reviews to redeeming offers, all on their mobiles, ironically while travelling.
Communications, news and information, commerce and shopping and entertainment come next, all with 80%+ increases. Ironically the one leisure pursuit that only had a more moderate 59% year on year increase was social networking.
Is that because the market is saturated or that people still prefer a lap top?
50% of consumers use mobile to check prices. If you capitalise on this as Amazon did recently by giving people US$5 dollar voucher if they continued their purchase on their mobile will be rewarded with short term custom, continuous user custom and long term loyalty.
Of course the biggest drive for mobile phone usage will be contactless payments. Retailers and credit cards are battling over market share and first mover advantage here. MasterCard have had PayPass since 2004 and how now updated that to include bypass their credit card and pay by mobile PayPass instead. They have done this for good reason.
MasterCard discovered that spending increased 30% in the 12 months after a customer first started using contactless payments. This is especially true of the young and affluent. Visa’s PayWave and Amex’s ExpressPay need to catch up fast.
Mobile wallets will soon take over from physical ones. Cash will be even more redundant. You will only need to carry one thing to cover all your needs. Retailers such as Starbucks and Dunkin Doughnuts have launched mobile wallet apps just for their stores whereas brands like Google have launched Google Wallet app which allows users to load multiple credit cards and use them both in person and on line, making life easier for the customer.
Some retailers like the world’s largest retailer Walmart have formed alliances with others to create a group app that can be used within partner stores. Paypal has listened to their customer base of which 80% said that they would prefer a PayPal mobile app as their chosen mobile wallet provider.
The Discover card has partnered with them to realise this solution in the US and I am sure they will be looking for market leading partners in other parts of the world to claim market share amongst the young and those not loyal to Amex, Visa or MasterCard.
Chris J Reed is chief marketing officer of mobile and digital solutions company Cellcity located in Singapore