Australia embraces mobile first

Posted by Ryan Raubenheimer on

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This year Australian smartphone ownership has reached a major milestone, with 84% of us now in possession of this nifty little device.

We are using it to scour social media, seek out the best products and buy them all at the touch of a handheld button. In addition over 11 million of us also own tablets, utilising their portable convenience for working on the go, or searching as we need.

It’s all part of a shift which will soon see Australia a mobile first society. So let’s take a look at the rise of the mobile and how it can be used in the retail realm.

A quick overview

According to research by Deloitte smartphone ownership in Australia has now reached 84%, with over 16 million people owning a touchscreen phone.

That’s an increase from 11.1 million in 2013 according to Yump, who also explain between 2013 and 2015 tablet ownership almost doubled from 6.3 million to 11.2 million.

The result is that Australians spend more than two thirds of their IT time on mobile devices.

So what are we using them for and how does it relate to retail?

Seeking information

With ready access to the internet at hand, it’s no surprise we turn to the smartphone to research what we buy. In fact Yump notes 40% of millennials research their purchase on smartphones, while 84% turn on their phone to help them navigate in-store.

That means retailers need a mobile friendly app and/or website to assist with the process.

Yump suggests: “You can integrate with existing Apps, build a mobile-friendly website, target mobile search, buy mobile or in-App advertising, create branded content for Apps or run campaigns using social Apps such as Instagram and Snapchat.”

Social media

According to research by GeoMarketing, 20 minutes of the three hours plus that we spend on mobile devices is devoted to social media.

That may not seem much in the big scheme of things but it’s the power of social media when it comes to brand influence and purchasing that makes it so significant.

Forbes explains Likes and Shares have the potential to drive up sales, particularly in holiday seasons.

"We see many fashion, jewelry and health-related merchants using Facebook Dynamic Ads to retarget shoppers who have already visited their site, "reminding" them of products they’ve looked at. This tactic has increased traffic for many of our merchants.”

Meanwhile further statistics indicate the power of social sharing:

  • Online adults aged 18-34 are most likely follow a brand via social networking (95%). (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others. (Source: Ambassador)
  • There are 1.65 billion active mobile social accounts globally with 1 million new active mobile social users added every day. (Source: We Are Social)
  • 96% of the people that discuss brands online do not follow those brands’ owned profiles. (Source: Brandwatch)

Making payments

Australia is one of the world’s greatest adopters of contactless payments, and slowly but surely that’s extending to the digital wallet and the convenience of payment options like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay.

According to Gizmodo over half of payments in Australia are now completed via contactless cards or mobile apps.

Meanwhile, mobile-based tap-and-pay systems have seen a surge in usage of over 200% in the last 12 months.

And the future is only likely to see that take-up increase. A representative for Australia’s big banks told News Limited: “Mobile wallets are currently overwhelmingly focused on mobile payments but will soon take in loyalty programs, mass transit ticketing, access, identity, and a great number of other future innovations”.

“Ultimately, there is no technical barrier standing in the way of our ­entire physical wallet becoming digital.”

Working on the go

It’s not all play and pay in our increasingly mobile world. A very real use of smartphone and particularly tablets comes in the form of working on the go. In retail this specifically relates to the use of mobile technology (both tablets and smartphones) to perform a role once reserved for highly specialised IT - the point of sale.

Once confined to static cash registers, the now mobile Point of Sale allows retailers to take the register to the consumer, providing better customer service and shortening time in the queue.

It’s also a movement which is only set to increase, according to Forbes who note 87% of retailers will deploy mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) over the next four years.

Meanwhile Global Market Insights states mPOS adoption is poised to grow at 17.8% CAGR from 2016 to 2023 creating value for retailers that leads to “more converged and integrated store solutions”.

The final word

The mobile experience is very much part of our daily life. We research with it, buy with it, and check into our social world. For retailers it’s about harnessing this power to deliver the best possible brand and in-store experience.

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