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January 7th, 2014

Top mobile trends 2014 – your key to success

What should your top mobile priorities be in 2014?

Once again we have dug through reports, predictions and forecasts from the top research firms and thought leaders, as well as our own analysis for 2014 and beyond, to pick up the most important trends for our clients and partners. Some of the trends are unsurprising and very general whereas others are more specific. We’ve added our own opinions and reviews to those of the world’s top research institutions with the objective of guiding you through 2014 with maximum results.

Top mobile trends 2014

1. Context matters (DMI and Yankee Group)
During 2013 we used every available opportunity at conferences, workshops, panels and in articles to talk about the importance of use case centric service design. Identifying and focusing on the core use cases based on context and then building the best user experience around these. E.g. for a retailer the core use case will differ if the customer is in the store vs outside of the store or shopping from home. Related to this, Yankee Group predicts that “marketing investment for mobile customer experience measurement will take center stage”.

What we think:
Forget about what device your customer is using and focus on serving the core needs for each user in the context they are in- whether they are on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. E.g. In-store looking for a product, at home shopping, an employee collecting information during a customer visit or a doctor looking for information in the field. Once you know the use case, work rigorously to deliver the optimal user experience through ongoing user testing. Over time the experience can be truly customised, based on other relevant information and behaviour. Google Now is a strong example of this. The importance of context means that responsive design will frequently fail as the approach focuses too much on providing the same service across devices and not enough on the user needs.

2. Apps still winning vs. mobile web (Ovum & Gartner)
Ovum says that Apps will drive the next phase in the evolution of enterprise mobility, creating new ways of working, and transforming existing business processes. In 2014, enterprise mobile apps will become a core part of the enterprise IT application stack.

What we think:
It’s clear that consumers and enterprise users prefer apps when it comes to utility services. They are faster, more reliable and easier to  use, with users not particularly concerned with which technology is being implemented. Downloadable apps will continue to dominate in the consumer and enterprise space with a combination of Native apps and Hybrid apps (using HTML5). All websites should be designed with mobile first in mind but if you want to create a true  digital engagement experience then apps are the way to go with 87% of all mobile media consumption through apps.

“We know iPad outsold laptops during 2013: While users were on their iPads […], they were three times more likely to be using apps than the mobile Web.” – Nielsen

3. Do, differentiate or die (Forrester)
In Top Technology Trends for 2014 and Beyond, Forrester states that “a great digital experience is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a make-or-break point for your business as we more fully enter the digital age.” Some CIOs are losing their influence over the decisions in these areas as digital experience agencies are engaged by CMOs and CTOs to a greater extent.

What we think:
Uber, Starbucks, Amazon, and others have shown that it’s possible to shake up an entire industry by providing a differentiating and winning mobile experience. These organisations are driven by user experience more than anything else. CIOs and CMOs should all have mobility as a top priority for their 2014 roadmap.

4. Apps changing the way enterprises work (IDC and Ericsson)
Ericsson concludes that smartphones have completely changed the way we communicate and use the Internet. We are currently entering a new phase of rapidly-diversifying smartphone use – and people are looking for apps across all sectors of society.
IDC predicts that the 3rd Platform will deliver the next generation of competitive advantages that will significantly disrupt market leaders in virtually every industry.

What we think:
During 2013, many enterprise mobility solutions delivered value beyond our wildest dreams. In one case, 12 months and hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment paid off in less than 1.5 months. Every organisation should review their opportunities in mobile enterprise solutions whether they derive from appstore apps or custom developed solutions. In 2014 you will see all larger organisations deploying enterprise apps. Read our blog about how to identify and implement your quick wins.

5. 2014 is not the year for wearables (Juniper)
Juniper says 2014 will be a “watershed year” for wearables with Google Glass, Samsung smartwatches, Apple iWatch and other devices – but privacy will be an issue as cameras become more and more ubiquitous.

What we think:
Wearables appeared on Merry Meeker’s 2013 trend report as well as many others. In some areas such as sport, wearables are already going mainstream with Nike Fuel Band and movement tracking devices. In other areas including glasses (primarily Google Glass) and watches (Pebble, Sony and Samsung), 2013 was a pilot year. 2014 will continue to be an evolution and not a revolution as long as they remain gadgets for geeks and don’t fulfil a real need. Google Glass will prove more useful within enterprise than for consumers, and the watches will be a niche extension to smartphones.

6. LG strikes back while Blackberry and HTC continue to drop (Cnet)
Cnet primarily talks about the top mobile trends impacting consumers and believes that LG re-emerges as a hot Android device maker in 2014 with the Google Nexus lineup and other new devices coming. HTC on the other hand will continue to struggle due to lack of differentiation and additional offerings in the consumer electronics division. For Blackberry things will get worse before they get better, but with the refocus on enterprise users and partnership with Foxconn, they are expected to survive beyond 2014.

What we think:
Innovation keeps thriving from competition and we will see more surprises from newcomers and established players. We will continue to see innovation in the low-end segment from Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE and in the high-end from Apple, LG, HTC, Sony and Motorola whereas Microsoft/Nokia and Samsung will continue to play in both segments. We also believe that there is a role for Blackberry to play as an enterprise device supplier and the only one with a proper keyboard, as well as Microsoft, based on its leading enterprise IT role. Expect a lot of surprises!

7. Email will become a mobile first channel (MarketingProfs)
The majority of e-mails are now opened on a mobile device making it critical to optimise all e-mails and website links for mobile. The desktop PC will become a secondary consideration.

What we think:
Most newsletters, CRM generated e-mail updates, personal e-mails, etc are not yet updated for mobile because to be honest, it’s not an easy task. The same is true for campaign landing pages as redirects are seldom implemented correctly, but businesses must address this or they will lose out on business. 2014 will be the year when organisations take this seriously.

8. Brick and mortar stores will communicate with shoppers in real-time (Rakuten* and eMarketer)
With iBeacon and other technologies that allow precise, low-cost indoor tracking in stores, retailers will begin to target shoppers in real-time, with relevant and personalized, location-based offers. “Always-on commerce” is a subtle but significant evolution from “everywhere commerce,” brought on by consumers” ubiquitous connectivity, according to a new eMarketer report, “Key Digital Trends for 2014.”

* Rakuten is the worlds 3rd largest e-commerce company.

What we think:
Indoor tracking solutions have existed for many years and they are now starting to reach the mainstream. We believe that Wifi will continue to be the predominant technology platform as it’s cost efficient and uses standardised web technology. All retailers can benefit from using Wifi to communicate with customers and better understand customer behaviour. This will also be used to welcome loyal customers back and inform them of relevant offers and deals. The cost of more advanced technology and rollouts including iBeacon is still prohibitive so adoption will primarily be on a pilot basis during 2014. Watch out for start-ups such as, Euclid and YFind.

9. Identity and privacy will find a balance (IEEE)
An individual’s online identity, when strictly related to reputation and trust, is less virtual and has more and more impact on real, offline life. The collection of information online is both a huge opportunity and a threat to our privacy and security.

What we think:
The majority of consumers accept giving up some privacy for better services and ease of use as long as it’s transparent. Generally, it’s sufficient to follow the OECD recommendations, but in some European countries (especially Germany and Spain) as well as Singapore, personal data legislation is already more far-reaching. In the US and UK we expect the industry will self-regulate consumer data privacy.

10. A few big players shape the mobile advertising space (DMI)
Facebook showed the biggest leap in 2013 going from almost zero in mobile revenue to 40% of the overall advertising revenue from mobile. Other top players such as Google/Youtube, Twitter, Renren, Youku and Sina-Weibo also showed major growth. Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo fell behind in terms of media attention. Over the coming years, Google and Facebook are expected to continue to lead the market with mobile advertising specialists including Millennial Media, Inmobi, Smaato as well as the major media agencies supporting brands and publishers.

What we think:
The majority of the traditional media agencies are still far behind in terms of mobile expertise and experience. Challenge your media agency on the mobile advertising spend, ROI and innovation and change agency if they don’t take ownership.

11. Mobile payments break-through (DMI and Comscore)
Last year we said that the mobile payments and wallet market would grow slowly without a general market break-through in 2013. This was true as Google Wallet, Isis, Vevo and Paypal failed to impress. There was however, a breakthrough on other levels with Starbucks, Square, Uber and various other services showing that consumers are ready. Comscore’s report “Rise of the 3Ms (mCommerce, mRetail and mPayments)” provides further insights to this trend. The Economist believes that Sweden might be taking a lead in the western world.

What we think:
Every major consumer brand must consider mobile payments as part of their strategy in 2014 if it improves their users’ customer experience.

12. The Internet of things moving mainstream
In 2012 Gartner predicted that The Internet of Things (IOT) would move into pilots in 2013 and at CES 2014, Cisco chief executive John Chambers predicted the Internet of Things would be a $19 trillion market over the next several years. Chambers explained that IoT — a term for connected sensors, devices and objects — could create new opportunities for revenue generation and savings across industries and government. As an example the city of Barcelona, noted that the city has reduced costs by about $3.1 billion a year by installing sensors in public water pipes and parking meters so they are used more efficiently.

What do we think?
We are starting to see connected devices everywhere including climate control, automobiles, lights, alarm systems, video cameras, ticketing machines, airport kiosks, self-checkouts, beacons in stores and more. IOT is going mainstream here and now and this will impact most businesses whether it’s cost savings, revenue or improved customer care. Have a think about how your business or organisation can benefit from IOT in 2014.


Tags: enterprise mobility mobile apps mobile marketing mobile websites trends

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