73% of companies are planning an investment in mobile channels in 2011, with almost half planning to move into mobile commerce. 

Econsultancy’s Customer Engagement Report, which we produced in association with cScape, has some interesting findings on companies’ use of mobile. 

It seems that, as well as losing their fear of social media, more firms are coming round to the value of mobile. 

Investment in mobile for customer engagement

The majority of company respondents (73%) are planning to invest in the mobile channel this year, an increase of 13% since last year’s survey, when 60% planned investment.

Less than a fifth of client-side respondents (19%) are planning to invest “significantly”, with 54% saying that investment will be limited. 

Do you plan to invest in the mobile channel in 2011? 

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Agency respondents report fewer numbers of companies (18% compared to 27%) that are not planning an investment in the mobile, while 41% of agencies say that mobile apps have had a measurable impact for their clients, compared to less than a quarter of responding companies (23%). 

How are companies using mobile to build customer engagement? 

The majority (73%) of company respondents are planning to invest in mobile this year, compared with 60% in last year’s survey.

Our report also looks into how companies are using mobile for customer engagement. The use of mobile has increased across almost all of the areas shown in the chart below. 

Notable stats include the fact that 23% of firms are already creating mobile apps, with a further 47% planning to do so in the next 12 months. 

How are you using mobile to build customer engagement? (Click here for a larger version)

Mobile and customer engagement 1 small

The survey also shows the increased attention paid to mobile commerce by companies. While a relatively small number (15%) already have a transactional mobile presence, a further 46% are planning to invest in mobile commerce in 2011. 

Challenges holding back mobile investment

There are still plenty of challenges which hold back or make investment in mobile more difficult, and lack of expertise and budget, internal buy-in and integration issues were cited by both companies and agencies as major challenges.

Many companies say they do not have the expertise to initiate mobile projects and this is mainly because they do not have specialised personnel. The lack of knowledge and skills is sometimes preventing organisations from fully understanding and realising the potential benefits and business value.

Another issue that emerged from the survey responses is the lack of senior management and internal buy-in. For many firms, mobile is not a priority, and has not been integrated into their overall strategy. 

With the continued growth of mobile use, and the successes that brands like Amazon and M&S have already had on mobile, this is something that is likely to change in the next year.