5 Key Changes in Mobile User Trends for 2016

Shailee Parikh

The advent of mobile devices has unlocked new doors for companies to interact with their customers. No longer working in a static environment, businesses have the opportunity to reach their consumer base in real time, 24 hours a day. Traditional methods of customer communication and sales tactics are rapidly becoming antiquated as smartphones and phablets push older technology off of the market.

To benefit from these new opportunities, you need to understand these five key changes in mobile user trends.

More Consumers Are Searching for Companies, Products, and Information via Their Mobile Devices

Digital consumers in the US now spend 51% of their time accessing the web via their mobile devices rather than their desktop or laptop computer, and a Facebook research study done in October 2015 revealed that 73% of Facebook users always have their mobile devices with them. Consumers aged 16-24 spend more than 3.25 hours per day on the web via their mobile devices.

Yet according to a recent Forrester survey, in spite of this rapid growth, only 14% of companies are using mobile capabilities to transform their customer’s experience.

Smartphones and Phablets are the Most Commonly Used Devices in the World

Smartphones and Phablets (supersized smartphones) make up 97% of handset traffic, with smartphones generating fourteen times more traffic than a non-smart device. It’s estimated that by 2020, these devices will make up 50% of all global connections.

For today’s businesses, that means it is vital that your consumers be able to reach your company via their smartphone-and that your current digital marketing strategy needs to shift to offer maximum utilization of today’s new mobile technology.

Is your current website mobile compatible? Are your visitors able to clearly view your products and services on a single screen via their mobile device, or are they constantly having to squint at tiny font or scroll left or right to see the edges of the page?

Does your organization have a smartphone app? (More on that in a minute.)

Are scripts running on your page that slow downloading time? A recent report from digital marketing expert Heidi Cohen revealed that 29% of consumers say they immediately switch sites if a particular site is taking too long to load, leaving a very small window of error for non-optimized websites before an opportunity to connect is gone forever.

Mobile is Changing the Way

There are twice as many searches done on phones as on home computers these days, and tools aren’t the only thing customers are changing about mobile search. Customers are looking for information on products and services while they’re out and about rather than sitting at home, which creates an air of urgency-or, as Google put it, people want to:

  • Go
  • Do
  • Know
  • Buy

That means that the information they want needs to be easily accessible and available in real time-and businesses need the tools and resources to keep up.

Apps are Rapidly Edging Out Mobile Browsers

Mobile apps are replacing browsers as the primary place that mobile users spend their time. Studies show that mobile users spend 90% of their mobile time in apps rather than their mobile browsers and, consequently, will spend more time on a company’s app than on their mobile website.

The top three apps/types of apps in the world, unsurprisingly, are Facebook, entertainment apps and gaming apps, in that order; however, more and more businesses are turning to mobile apps rather than mobile websites as their primary method of communicating with their mobile users. An article published by stated that when consumers were polled, they preferred apps over mobile websites because they felt apps were:

  • More convenient
  • Faster
  • Easier to navigate
  • Less likely to crash
  • More personalized to the user

The Number of Purchases Made on Mobile Devices, Either Directly or Indirectly, is Increasing

A study done by Google revealed that 20% of online orders are now made by smartphones, edging tablets off of the market. 26-35% of consumers state that they have placed orders online via their mobile devices. From a business point of view, that means that not only does your website or mobile app need to make viewing and researching products online simple and efficient, but your shopping cart also needs to effectively operate on a mobile platform while incorporating any cross-platform reward or bonus program.

It doesn’t stop there. More than 80% of customers are using their mobile devices in stores to compare customer reviews and prices, scan QR codes, and otherwise gather the information that guides their purchase decisions. This information, coupled with mobile search, can influence foot traffic to brick and mortar locations, influencing the products businesses are able to sell from their respective storefronts.

This rapid rise and shift in mobile use and trends mean that today’s businesses need to reshape the way they view mobile-first.


Shailee Parikh

I am a marketing enthusiast, who likes to try out disruptive ideas and deliver them effortlessly. Reading and writing about innovation, technology and startups interests me.

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