I’m a huge fan of the mobile web. Enormous. When I look at mobile today, I see the Web in 1997-1998, poised for massive growth. I think tools like the iPad and sophisticated phones are going to be huge drivers of that growth. Amazon already gets healthy results from mobile.
But, when will you see the benefit? When will the mobile web be a major contributor to your business? And by major, I mean something that produces 10% or more of your revenues and profits.
The quick answer is, I don’t know. And it’s easy to get discouraged when CNN reports:
“…while cell phone penetration is high across all U.S. demographics (82 percent of consumers own a cell phone, and 73 percent report that cell phones are their “most used device”), only 17 percent of Americans own a smartphone… Also,Forrester reports that less than one-fourth of U.S. mobile phone owners have an unlimited data plan.” [Emphasis mine]
Data plans are a bit of sticking point, actually. My friend Mike Moran has long suggested data plan cost impacts web use, especially on mobile. I more or less agree.
“Morgan Stanley projects sales of 16 million units in the first year alone. With over 3.3 million iPads sold in less than 3 months, that’s an argument hard to refute.”
There’s the Amazon number I referenced above. eBay did more than $600 million in mobile sales in 2009, about 7% of its total revenue. And, as mentioned in both the CNN article above and my post from last week, smartphone adoption is higher among younger demographics – and growing.
RIght now, we’re in a “pregnant moment,” one just before a tipping point. I think we’re already in “The Year of Mobile” – if it wasn’t last year. And I wouldn’t put too much faith in the “few people have smartphones” argument, either. For instance, MetroPCS is rolling out mobile internet and video on its LTE (i.e., next-generation mobile internet) network for $60 (!) a month, using a fairly dumb device. So, who needs smartphones, anyway?
Is this “The Year of Mobile?” Are you getting mobile worth mentioning? Tell us about it in the comments. We’d love to hear.
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