More than a few businesses are hoping that mobile will save their bottom line in the coming years. Why is that? For a few reasons. But one factor involves consumer tolerance for ads and charges they reject in the desktop environment. Moreover, mobile adoption is skyrocketing.

According to a new study by Burson-Marsteller and Proof Integrated Communications, smartphone shipments will exceed PC shipments within two years. Marketers need to start paying attention. 

B.L. Ochman, Burson-Marsteller and Proof Integrated Communications' managing director of emerging media, calls this study "be mobile or be dust." That's because the mobile adoption numbers it cites are pretty staggering.

According to the study, 80% of the US population will have a mobile phone by 2010. That number alone may not be of note, but cell users are using their phones less for making phone calls and more for digital activities. According to the report, the average iPhone user only spends 45% of on-device time making phone calls. The majority of their time in mobile is spent browsing the web or using applications.

That number has grown 110% in the last year. By 2011, 99% of mobile phones will be data-capable devices (though that number includes phones that can send and receive SMS texts, not necessarily smartphones).

However, by 2012, smartphone shipments will exceed shipments of PCs. Already 40% of iPhone and iPod Touch users go to the internet more via mobile than they do on a computer.

According to the study:

"The speed of mobile adoption growth is far outpacing that of prior technologies, and using mobile to access data and to make transactions is nearing the tipping point. Mobile will soon be the primary digital means that consumers use to interact with brands, friends, retailers and other businesses."

Smart brands should take note. Mobile devices are pretty amazing purchasing tools. As Burson-Marsteller points out, mobile users are searching for products, reading reviews, comparing prices, locating items in stores and making purchases from their phones.

Mobile users also tend to be more social. Of Facebook's 500 million users, 100 million of them access the site through their mobile phones. Those users are twice as active on the social network as non-mobile users. Also, 25% of mobile users access Twitter, compared to only 8% of respondents who access the internet only from a PC.

The mobile phone more seamlessly connects the digital and real worlds. It is uniquely positioned to aid in the handling of impulse activities and on demand services.

Most especially, as brands are learning, mobile phone adopters aren't only young, tech savvy people. A whopping 82% of seniors use their mobile phones to get information and learn.

But businesses aren't quite up to speed yet. 80% of US multichannel retailers don't have m-commerce capabilities. Furthermore, 42% of those respondents don't have plans to launch a mobile site within the next two years. Only 12% of the top 500 internet retailers have sites optimized for mobile phones, and only 7% have downloadable mobile applications.

Mobile phone users are often at the most desirable point of the purchasing funnel when they're looking for information with their devices. The quicker businesses take to mobile, the better off they will be.

Whether it be coupons or ads or location based services, brands that want to reach customers (ie: all brands) should seriously pay attention to this space.

Meghan Keane

Published 1 September, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (5)



Great news for Mobile phone sellers!

I wonder how accurate those figures are, although I'd say by 2010 80% of the US population WOULD definitely have phones. I'd be surprised if it was less.

The internet phone market is going to be massive in the next few years, really take the majority of the market, being a web designer Ive noticed a big trend in cleints becoming more savy in terms of wanting their websites to look and work on iphones more than PCs

almost 8 years ago


Mike McGrail, Digital Marketing Consultant at Standard Life

I wonder if it means web enabled phones? The US are behind both the UK and Far East in terms of phone tech adoption.

almost 8 years ago

Christian Louca

Christian Louca, Founder - New Mobile Start-Up at Stealth Mode

This article was discovered by email on my iPhone, it was read on the Mobile Internet (well that is a slight lie, as their site is not optimised for mobile), shared and commented on via my iPhone blogging app. All of this achieved in 5 minutes whilst I am on my daily commute to work and my free Metro newspaper remains unread in front of me!

I think back to when I first started commuting into London many years ago, you had to slam the doors shut on the train, do you remember that? Now of course the doors shut automatically. Winter time was a pain too, as the windows were always open so the trains used to be freezing cold and noisy. Now the air is regulated, no matter what time of year, removing the need to have the window open and all that noise stopping me read in comfort the then paid for daily Guardian newspaper, which was always a lottery as the delivery boy threw it on to the drive in the morning come rain, sun or snow. It was big and not easy to read on a crowded train. Now of course, I can read any paper or content I like on my phone….which I am pretty sure isn’t thrown into my drive every morning. I am not being disloyal to the Guardian but there is so much interesting content out there, by this I mean in hyper space and I feel I just need to explore, discover and share my experience. I am no longer restricted, I am liberated to make my choice of journey and choose who I want to share that with (the Metro, still remains unread).

Like the automatic doors and air regulation making the train journey an overall better experience, so to does my mobile phone. My journey has been informative, engaging and viral. Shared via my blog which updates, Linkedin, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter all through hyper space. How times have changed.

Now where is that Metro…Double dip fears for house*t I just bought a house!

almost 8 years ago



"The majority of their time in mobile is spent browsing the web or using applications." i can't agree more! oh, don't forget games!

about 7 years ago


: Joe

The internet phone market is going to be massive in the next few years, really take the majority of the market, being a web designer Ive noticed a big trend in cleints becoming more savy in terms of wanting their websites to look and work on iphones more than

over 5 years ago

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