Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Still unconvinced about the importance of mobile-optimised websites Or maybe you understand the benefits but need to justify it to your boss. Here are a few figures that should help.

The stats below are drawn from the most recent information available at the time of writing. They show that, if the 20th century was a crucial time for static web development, then in the early 21st century the momentum has well and truly moved to mobile.

1. Three Tablets per Second

Electronics industry analyst IDC reports total worldwide sales of tablet systems reached 25 million in the second quarter of 2012. Unsurprisingly, that was led by strong shipments of Apple's iPad.

That's around three tablets sold every second - in fact, it's slightly more, at 3.18 to be precise.

Whether your competitors are in the mobile market or not, it's a rapidly growing audience and a whole new way to reach potential customers. Because not every company is up to speed, there’s possibly even less competition than you face on the conventional web.

2. Apps vs. the Mobile Web

It's often difficult to fully separate mobile apps from mobile websites in statistics, which is why parts of this article treat mobile website development and app development as parts of the same marketing machine.

However, emerging technologies specialist ABI Research has put the distinction between the two into context.

While global smartphone users are expected to install 36 billion apps in 2012 - a 6% increase on 2011, and an average of 37 apps per person - the mobile web represents the future for some sectors.

As is often the case, pure entertainment providers are likely to see apps remain important, as they can deliver gaming content better than many mobile websites.

But the advent of HTML5 has seen some providers in other spaces - such as news - withdraw their standalone apps and revert to a mobile web model.

ABI Research predicts this will become a key trend in future, which could help mobile sites to see off the challenge of standalone apps once and for all.

3. One in Eight Buy on the Mobile Web

Whether your audience arrives via an app or a mobile site, it's increasingly likely that they'll make a purchase using their mobile.

Figures from internet analyst comScore show that, between May 2011 and May 2012, the proportion of smartphone users visiting online retail sites or using retail apps stood at one in six. The total number of people doing this in the five main European markets, including the UK, was up by 94% to nearly 20 million in the three months to May 2012.

One in eight of all smartphone users, accounting for 14.5 million people across the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain, actually made a purchase on their mobile. Clothing, books and consumer electronics were among the best mobile sellers.

4. Most Companies are Assessing Mobile Performance

You might think it's only a handful of companies that are really trying to achieve anything significant in the mobile space. However, a research brief from business insight provider Aberdeen Group reveals that this is not the case.

The study focuses on mobile apps, and how businesses assess their success or failure. It saw the increased importance of mobile application access as the main driving force behind application performance strategies for 69% of firms.

Just under a third, 30% of those surveyed, already have a strategy in place to track mobile application performance, but a massive 54% are planning their strategies.

It's a telling statistic that shows it's not only the mobile market that is maturing, but also companies' responses to this new form of customer demand. Most importantly, it shows that those who take no action are at risk of being left behind.

5. The Nexus of Forces

In this age of communication and connectivity, it is perhaps appropriate that business analyst Gartner warns against viewing the mobile web as something separate from everything else.

Instead, businesses are told to look at the 'Nexus of Forces' - a combination of mobile, cloud technologies, social media and general information sharing - as the driving force behind their marketing.

Chris Howard, managing vice-president at Gartner, says: "In the Nexus of Forces, information is the context for delivering enhanced social and mobile experiences; mobile devices are a platform for effective social networking and new ways of work."

With Gartner forecasting social media revenues alone of more than £10 billion in 2012, an increase of 43.1% over last year, it's clear that this connectivity means mobile is not just a market in its own right; it is also a means to tap into lucrative earnings potential elsewhere.

What next?

If you’re convinced that your company needs a mobile website, you are probably wondering how much it could cost.

But, as with everything online, you can spend a small fortune having a bespoke website designed, built and tested – or you can go with a cheaper, off-the-shelf website.

If you don’t have the budget to invest thousands in your mobile web page, consider a company like Telnames, which allows you to create a simple but effective .tel profile page. It costs around £15 a year and you can use it to link to your existing website.

Written by Dan Richards, an experienced blogger with a passion for mobile technology

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