Today the Mobile World Congress was opened in Barcelona, arousing people’s interest worldwide. Under the motto ‘Redifining Mobile’ the world’s largest fair for mobile devices promises to boast a huge number of novelties. New, more powerful devices and mobile business models are amongst the most attractive topics for visitors. Indeed, the world of mobile devices sees some kind of upheaval: Going online via mobile becomes more important than simple voice communication. According to estimates by Germany’s Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) based on figures published by the international market research institution EITO, in 2012 more Internet-ready smartphones will be sold in Germany than traditional mobile devices (15.9 million units vs. 13 million units). Market researchers at ComScore also predict increased penetration of markets worldwide with smartphones. The threshold of 100 million units sold was already passed in the US. No wonder that Microsoft will introduce its new OS Windows 8 in Barcelona and not at the CEBIT. The new Windows 8 is supposed to be the first OS that can run simultaneously on PCs, tablets, smartphones and hybrid devices.
A recent comparison highlights the differences in market penetration across Europe. At the end of 2011 around half of the population in the United Kingdom possessed a smartphone (51.3%), while in Germany it was just a bit more than a Third (37%). Compared to 2010, smartphone penetration in the below five EU countries increased by 44% in total:
Source: Figures by ComScore, table by Statista
App economy impacts traditional markets
The app market sees a boom like never before, which also impacts traditional industries like the publishing industry, health services and the transportation sector. According to figures by BITKOM, German smartphone users downloaded 962 million apps in 2011 (+249% compared to 2010). Mobile app sales reached a volume of EUR210 million last year (+123% compared to 2010). This figure includes sales of apps, services and advertising revenues through an app. About 80% of apps are available for free, while the rest is paid content.
Source: BITKOM, research2guidance
The future is mobile
Smartphones change consumer’s behavior, especially in POS. According to research results by ComScore more than half of US smartphone users use their mobile devices for purchases at real-life retail shops. Therefore it is about time for customer-oriented retailers to shift their focus on the mobile channel.