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.

•           Emerging mobile technologies are enabling innovative services. Innovation around mobile devices has been tremendous over the past few years. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, are delivering experiences resembling those only available on PCs just a few years ago. Three key technology trends that played out as anticipated in 2010 include: 1) devices and operating systems fragmenting further; 2) Android emerging as the main rival to other platforms but its fragmentation increasing; and 3) social and location becoming integrated in many services.

•           Consumers are increasing their use of mobile phones for commerce. Even if the market is still supply-side-driven, with numerous mobile commerce services that were launched in 2010, consumers turned to their mobile phones as shopping tools and began spending money faster than we or many of our clients anticipated. Across industries, companies reported strongly increased spending by consumers via their mobile phones, with eBay just confirming that it reached its projection of $2 billion in 2010. Consumers also increased their usage of tools such as bar-code scanners, price-comparison tools, and consumer reviews.

•           Mobile product professionals are increasing their spend. Companies that didn’t even have a budget for mobile two years ago don’t blink today at seven-figure budgets. Outside of a handful of industry leaders, however, Forrester feels that companies have not allocated enough money to mobile given the significance of the medium as the most ubiquitous digital channel. The most dramatic increase has been that in mobile marketing; Forrester revised its 2010 mobile marketing forecast by more than 50% for 2010 alone. In Forrester’s Q3 2010 Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey, 24% of executives in charge of their company’s mobile strategy reported that they would more than double spending in the upcoming year, and an additional 46% said they would increase budget.

See also this piece from ReadWriteWeb about the top 10 mobile products in 2010.

Forrester will soon publish a new report sharing more details on these 2010 calls and its 2011 mobile trends. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, clients should take a look at the mobile marketing predictions of my US colleagues here.