So many things happened in 2012 that it's difficult to sum up the year. We’ve passed three key milestones in 2012: more than 1 million apps available, more than 100 million tablets and more than 1 billion smartphones in consumers’ pockets!
Let’s take a look at some of the key trends we highlighted last year. We expected product strategists to work with other roles to:
· Develop a scalable approach to delivering mobile services. Most advanced organizations took a more strategic approach to building and spreading institutional knowledge as well as governance for the development of mobile services. However, the majority still do not coordinate their approach between marketing, IT, agencies, and vendors.
· Craft a mobile strategy that expands beyond phones. Only the most advanced players differentiated their tablet strategies. I know of a leading online retailer that is now generating 10% of its overall online sales via tablets because of the launch of an iPad app only eight months ago! However, most players still lump smartphones and tablets into the same “mobile” bucket without understanding the differences in the context of use.
· Differentiate on the delivery rather than the content of mobile services. I saw much greater emphasis on customer experience and design, but this trend did not really take place since many players either delivered a poor experience or are still not offering relevant mobile content.
In short, these trends took place but not as quickly as we anticipated. It seems that many companies still need to fix the basics when it comes to integrating consumer mobility as part of the corporate strategy.
Other trends we expected:
· The emergence of digital wallets and their extension beyond payment. Numerous announcements were made in that space (from O2 Wallet to Visa V.me via PayPal offerings), but this is still early days. There's much more to come in 2013.
· The continuation of the smartphone OS bloodbath. Betting that Android would lead in volume, with Apple a distant but premium second; that BlackBerry would struggle to renew its product portfolio; and that Microsoft /Nokia would have to execute perfectly to be back in the game longer term, even with a larger portfolio of devices in 2012, was pretty easy. Samsung actually overtook Nokia as the leading handset manufacturer (and sold more Galaxy Note hybrid devices than Nokia sold Lumia devices), and Android passed the 1.3 million mark of daily device activations, while the launch of Blackberry 10 was postponed to January 2013.
· Amazon and Facebook becoming disruptive distribution forces. Amazon launched its application store in Europe. With nearly 200,000 iPhone and Android apps now integrated with Facebook, and the launch of its own App Center, Facebook established itself as new distribution force. However, neither of these companies was really disruptive to either the Apple App Store or Google Play. There will be more to come in 2013, since according to our Technographics® data, 19% of European iPhone users report to have initially discovered the mobile app they use on social media sites.
· Consumers will expect more contextual experiences . . . As I stated in this article, most marketers are still failing to deliver strong contextual experiences on mobile devices and still need to make their apps smart by connecting them to their back-end CRM systems. The bar was raised, but mostly for consumers who had the opportunity to test these more contextual experiences.
· . . . but will also worry about privacy and security. Our data shows that consumers are increasingly concerned by the commercial use — and security — of their data due to the growing use of mobile for banking and buying. Yesterday’s media backlash on Instagram’s new privacy rules is a good illustration of this trend. Still, that's nothing in comparison to what will come in the years ahead.
· HTML5 has made phenomenal progress but is not a panacea. More companies realized they did not necessarily need an app and went for optimizing content on multiple screen sizes and devices using webapps and HTML5. While not a technology per se, “responsive design” was quite hyped in 2012.
· NFC will fail to live up to the hype. We’ll see more than 80 millions NFC devices ship in 2012 alone despite the lack of an NFC iPhone. However, a poor out-of-the-box experience, the lack of consumer education, and complex NFC infrastructure inhibited usage in 2012.
· Personal-cloud services will grow in importance but will not scale massively. With more than 150 million iCloud registered accounts and a growing number of Evernote and Spotify consumers, it looks as if we made a wrong call here. That being said, I think we’re just scratching the surface of the shift starting to take place in a context where individuals own more and more connected devices.
What did we miss? Do you disagree with the above statements? In your opinion, what were the key trends in 2012?
And what do you expect to happen in 2013? Feel free to contact me (thusson AT forrester DOT com), as Forrester will soon publish a new report sharing our perspective on 2013 mobile trends. Stay tuned!