When we look back on this decade and its technology, what will stand out? What, retrospectively, will be the obvious, defining feature of the 2010s, in the way television was for the 50s, and the Internet for the 90s?
There’s a strong case for mobile being the answer. Like the aforementioned technologies, it was conceived and developed twenty years before its heyday. The arrival of smartphones during the mid-noughties hinted at a brave new world in which everyone owned handheld devices capable of answering any question and communicating with anyone, but it was only in the last few months that mobile web searches - in the United States, anyway - exceeded desktop searches for the first time. Smartphone ownership has topped out for the simple reason that almost every adult now owns one. Arguably, 2015 was a tipping point, the year mobile came of age.
This makes the future hard to predict. Nevertheless, we’re going to give it our best shot by forecasting some of the things we expect to unfold in the coming year.
As more people turn to cloud storage to answer the problem of ever-accumulating data, the demand for greater security increases. Small businesses are especially prone to cybersecurity breaches, and after the year of hacks we’ve just had, everyone should expect 2016 to bring more of the same.
Apple, Samsung and Android have all launched iterations of the mobile wallet. With all the big mobile tech players behind it, there’s only one way mobile payments are going and that’s up. It might be a slow road, however. With something as sensitive as financial transactions, it’s hardly surprising that people are reluctant to change entrenched habits. The incentives have to be good, so expect 2016 to bring dangling carrots for new leads and significant rewards for loyal customers. Be on the look out for coupons, discounts and other enticements designed to make you switch from plastic to mobile.
Increased Data Sharing
Consumers are now more prepared to share their personal information than ever before, and we can expect this trend to continue upward during the next 12 months. Despite individual controversies surrounding privacy breaches, the public overwhelmingly prefers the convenience of constant connectivity over a disconnected - but completely private - life.
Ok, so Facebook is already primarily accessed via mobile devices. But by the end of the year, if current trends continue, it will be almost exclusively a mobile concern, at least as far as ad revenues are concerned. During Q3 of last year, 78% of the social network’s $4.3 billion global ad revenues came from mobile, and an increasing number of users are logging in on small screens.
In the face of mounting challenges from messaging apps, text message marketing campaigns will double down on the value they offer to customers. Even the most successful apps don't come close to competing with SMS in terms of global reach. This year will see SMS marketers consolidate their power.