Mobile, mobile banking and tablet movements

Mobile

Smartphones and mobile development is set to grow in a major way over the next few years according to recently released Forrester Research.

The report, as cited in the NYTimes, states in part:

“The business opportunities associated with apps were just beginning. Forrester estimates that the revenue created from customers buying and downloading apps to smartphones and tablets will reach $38 billion by 2015.”

The author of the research report, Mr McCarthy, estimates that the revenues from both mobile applications, and the business management and services in the industry to support the growth “will reach $54.6 billion a year by 2015”.

What’s particularly interesting in this report, but not touched on too much in the NYTimes article, is the percentage of people who download and use their phone as a banking device. As seen in the table below, when asked “Which of the following activities do you do on your primary cell phone or handheld wireless device at least monthly”, 23% of users responded they “check financial accounts”. How significant is this? Well, it’s actually very  signficant. That checking ones financial accounts is twice as high as something as normal, less security conscious and far more ingrained in to our collective behaviour as checking the status of flights, buses, and train services, it is remarkable.

Mobile banking

Just how big will mobile banking get over the next three to four years? According to Juniper Research – it’ll double its current volumes, which they estimated would be 200 million be the start of 2011, to 400 million by the end of 2013. Their whitepaper “Mobile banking goes mainstream” (which is just a snippet of their full report “Mobile banking strategies”) says “the technology is proven”. So now it’s just a matter of development.

What does this mean for the industry?

Well, at a glance, and a best guess, it means that mobile banking applications across – at the very least – Apple, Android and Blackberry – will become the norm for personal use, if they aren’t already, but the real growth will be in SME, wholesale and corporate banking. Why shouldn’t a trusted company employee, with specific and secure access to the company’s finances be able to access and manage things like a businesses loans, current accounts? And further, why not give them access to wholesale products like the company’s forex, debt lending, risk management and hedging, other capital raising products?

If anything, from an employer point of view the company’s accounts are more, not less, secure on a mobile device as there would undoubtedly be security checks and balances in place, as well as GPS through the phone’s default location tracking. Once the business rules are set in place about what can and can’t be done via the wholesale mobile app, voila – highly secure, highly useful and useable experience. All in the palm of the customers’ hand.

And it’s not just a win for the consumer. What could be better from a banks point of view: being seen by their client(s) in a trustworthy, convenient, cost-effective way?

A wholesale banking app would provide great online benefits – being able to pull up   in real-time, packaged in the convenience of the mobile format and is the perfect convenient environment for up-selling, cross-selling, content dissemination and product education through text, voice and video. And best of all, depending on how the app is built and the systems in place behind it, booking a discussion with a consultant, or sending the individual more information about product(s) could be as easy as a quick ‘swipe” of mobile glass.

The wholesale banking frontier must surely lay, in-part with mobile as an element of an integrated, multi-channel digital marketing product package.

Tablet update

In case you’ve been hiding under your soon-to-be obsolete iPad, you will have no doubt have heard that the iPad2 is coming out, and should hit Australian shores in the next month or two. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, because you can just click here, or here, other than to say it was worth the wait and it looks very cool and the new features, particularly the HDMI plug, will be very useful.
Competitors have also been streaming into the market and will continue to do so this year.  In July 2010 Forrester Research released a report detailing their expectations of the Tablet market. With Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps being quoted as saying  she expects 3.5 million tablets (including the iPad and other tablets) to be sold this year, growing to 20.4 million in 2015. Ms Rotman Epps also expected desktop sales to drop from 18.7 million units in 2010 to 15.7 million units in 2015.

Techcrunch, citing the research report said “as a percentage of overall PC sales, tablets will grow from 6 percent this year to 18 percent in 2012 (when netbooks are estimated to account for 17 percent of sales. The next year, in 2013, tablet sales are projected to outstrip desktop unit sales, 21 percent to 20 percent. By 2015, tablets will make up 23 percent of PC sales in the U.S., while desktops will be 18 percent and netbooks will be 17 percent. Only laptops will sell more in the U.S., with a 42 percent market share.”

Will Apple maintain its lead through 2011 and into 2012 and 2013? Probably, but its competitors are coming thick and fast and are unlikely to be as sluggish off the mark as they were with the original touch-screen phone market. The tablet market will be fought by some on design and high-end specifications by companies like Samsung, while companies like Asus and Acer will, should/when they enter the market, will fight on a basis of price.

Does all this mean Apple can expect less of a honeymoon period for the tablet? Quite possibly, Apple is already seeing its dominance in the touch mobile market being challenged by the more ‘open’ Android market. The difference between its former computer offerings and its current mobile and tablet offerings are the marketplaces the company has rolled out with each new product.

All this of course is great for digital marketers and companies ranging from Nike, Burton and Ripcurl, to games co’s, sporting event organisers such as the tennis and F1, right through to insurance, legal and banking.

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