Steady Mobile Banking Growth To Drive Demand For Better Functionality

Mobile banking growth in the US continues to be fueled by aggressive adoption of smartphones and regular mobile web use. The problem with this scenario, as noted in my new report, US Mobile Banking Forecast, 2010 To 2015, is that consumers are still struggling to figure out exactly how they will use mobile banking. Lacking any clear differentiated functionality, mobile banking appeals most strongly to those consumers already inclined to use the mobile channel. Unfortunately, this segment is dominated by those already using online banking. As a result, banks are not realizing the full benefit of switching customers to cheaper servicing channels, but instead are seeing cannibalization of one low-cost channel (online) by another (mobile).

To reach one in five US adults, as Forrester predicts mobile banking will do by 2015, US banks will need to enhance today's functionality significantly to create a unique value proposition that resonates with both online and offline consumers. This can be achieved in several ways:

  1. Introducing innovative new features — like mobile remote deposit capture — not commonly available through other channels
  2. Optimizing existing functionality to offer superior user experiences through the mobile channel
    (which of these transfer interfaces would you rather use?)
  3. Leveraging the unique capabilities of mobile devices and the mobile channel (think visual ATM locators and other location-based services) 
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2011 Mobile Trends

In a recent post, my colleague Julie Ask and I examined what happened in the mobile space in 2010. In a new report, we are highlighting what we expect the key trends to be in 2011. While we believe that most of the trends identified last year will continue throughout the year ahead, here’s a snapshot of more specific trends that will shape the market in 2011.

•           The mobile/social/local combo will explode in usage but generate little revenue.

•           2011 will be the year of the “dumb” smartphone user. Thanks to handset subsidies, smartphones will be available to the masses. Expect new smartphone users to be less engaged and active than the first cohorts of Android and iPhone early adopters. The good news is that thanks to customer education and the convenience that these devices offer, even “dumb” smartphone users will consume more mobile media than ever before and will have incremental usage of mobile data!

•           The mobile fragmentation problem will continue in 2011. Prioritizing mobile developments will still be a challenge, and cross-platform development has not yet been achieved successfully.

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2010: A Review Of Another Year In Mobile

A year ago, I tried to highlight what the key trends for 2010 would be. I wrote: “I’m not going to say that 2010 will be ‘the year of mobile’ or ‘the year of mobile marketing.’ I think 2010 is more likely to be the ‘year that every firm needs a mobile strategy.’ Mobile is simply too disruptive to merely have a year. After all, who remembers the year of the TV or the year of the Internet? Instead, I think 2010 will be a key year in mobile's transition to center stage in the digital marketplace. A new mobile decade is opening up, and now is the time to start your journey. In the past 10 years, mobile phones have changed the way we communicate and live. In the next 10 years, they will change the way we do business.”

Interestingly, that report — “2010 Mobile Trends” — was one of the most-read at Forrester, highlighting that a growing number of companies are starting to take mobile seriously.

So many things happened in 2010 that it is difficult to sum up the year. However, my colleague Julie Ask and I took a step back to offer our high-level take:

•           New entrants are disrupting existing mobile ecosystems. Non-telco companies, such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, increased in importance as key players in the mobile ecosystem. Together, Apple and Google are closing in on controlling about half of the smartphone market and mobile advertising share in the US and have obtained a lot of traction in Europe and other regions of the world.

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