Smart Phone Sales Growing Worldwide: Get Ready for Mobile Shoppers

The Gartner Group recently published a report that shows the increase in worldwide phone sales and it’s significant. For all types of mobile phones, sales went up by 35% in Q3 2010 from Q3 2009. Of that, the smartphone segment had a whopping 96% increase in sales. But what do those figures mean? How can your business benefit from this?

Those numbers might be a bit deceptive, but they do point to an important increase in smartphone sales. That 96% quarterly increase in smartphone sales might only amount to 19% of overall mobile phone sales in Q3 2010, though that translates to nearly 80M new units of smartphones worldwide — a huge new market for your mobile apps. According to the Gartner Group report, Apple especially benefited in Q3 2010, moving into the top five manufacturers, surpassing RIM. (Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are still battling in the top two places for Mobile OS, though Apple’s iPhone 4 is dominating in smartphone sales in the U.S.)

Now pair this smartphone sales information with the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) report, “October 2010 U.S. Mobile Consumer Briefing,” whose survey results suggest that nearly 60% of mobile consumers will use their phone for holiday shopping and planning. This includes using their phone for planning holiday celebrations, finding holiday gifts, comparing their spending expectations between 2009 and 2010, making purchases and more. In fact, at least 13% of consumers surveyed also expect to use their phone for gift purchases.

Positive Impact on Your Business
It’s true that countries in Europe and Asia have been using their mobile phones for product/ service payments for years, though this is a newer use for N. Americans. Consumers are obviously feeling increasingly comfortable in using mobile phones for shopping-related tasks in general, and with the ability of apps running on smartphones, the consumer shopping experience will continue to improve. As more consumers grow comfortable using smartphone apps for shopping, such apps will be commonplace for more than just holiday use — especially as the use by retailers of barcode/ QR code-based mobile coupon offers grows.

Mobile apps allow shoppers the convenience of checking for both local and online bargains, comparing, saving details, receiving alerts about deals, and much more. If this convenience is something that you want to offer your mobilized customers, start planning a mobile strategy now, for 2011. Especially consider how your target market could benefit from a mobile app. Start with a fairly simple mobile app and be first in your niche or industry, to gain an advantage over competitors in coming years. Add new features to your app regularly, as its usage grows.

Want to learn more about how a mobile app can help your business? Feel free to contact us to discuss a strategy.