December 18, 2012
Mobile Growth Stats

I did a NEDMA talk recently on
how companies can focus marketing efforts through their mobile plans. 
The thesis of the talk was that in a world where everyone is accessing
information through smartphones and apps that run on smartphones, you’d
better be doing an app.  If your marketing efforts are not considering
apps as a way to reach and interact with customers, then you as a
company risk losing relevancy.  Put another way, innovative companies
recognize that mobile first or mobile only is a great strategy – it’s a
mobile world, it’s an app world, and the sooner you figure out what to
do about that the better.

Here’s some supporting evidence, courtesy of a lot of smart people
who have done a lot of smart modeling, surveying and projections.

1) First of all, mobile is a global phenomena.  

Mobile is without a doubt global.  Check out this chart about the
growth of mobile globally.  The dark line at the top represents the
growth in handsets globally.  The orange line represents the growth in
smartphones globally.  Let’s be clear – smartphones are a) iPhones, b)
Androids, or c) maybe Windows?  (Sidebar: the folks at the AT&T
store I visited this past weekend said that Windows phones are indeed
selling at a pretty brisk rate, so more to come on that front because it
also depends on the developer community.  And we’ll see if BB can
recover.)  So almost 2 billion smartphones today; some 5 billion
predicted in 5 years.

You can access every consumer in the world through a device that is
always connected, has gobs of sensors, and amazing rendering
capabilities visually and audibly.  Implications are and will continue
to be staggering.

2) Mobile data traffic is exploding.  

The following graph (Figure 2 from here) is Cisco’s projection of data traffic world wide from mobile.  It goes
in one direction – up.  What’s remarkable about this is that it is
consistent across all regions of the globe.  Consistently large.  What’s
even more fascinating is that the growth is especially strong in areas
other then the US.  Mobile is global – remember?


Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast by Region

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index

The second graph is even more remarkable – data traffic in India from
mobile has already surpassed data traffic from laptops and desktops. 
Let’s think about that.  India is skipping the need to wire all parts of
its country with fixed landlines and going right to mobile.  So if
you’ve read The World is Flat,
what’s especially interesting is that outsourcing (at least from a US
perspective) to India originally was made possible because of the
tremendous capital outlays in fiber back in the Dot Com days.  Now,
they’re skipping well past that in India to take advantage of the build
out of infrastructure from mobile.  The world is quickly transitioning
to source more and more communication of all kinds (voice, data, video,
apps) via smartphones, not laptops or desktops.

% of Internet Traffic By Source

Source: KPCB 2012 Internet Trends Report:


3) Mobile advertising is growing at a crazy rate

More data points – these following two graphs show the fast growth in
mobile advertising and the projections looking forward.  It’s
inevitable, as more and more people move their lives to #MobileOnly, the
advertising is bound to follow.  In 2012 it’s looking to be a $1.2b
industry.  The first chart shows the percentage of ad spend by format,
with mobile being the fastest growing segment as detailed here.

Advertising Format Share

Source: IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report, October 2012

This following graph examines the forecast of mobile over the next 3
years, and clearly illustrates the tremendous growth that is yet to

What is also interesting is that mobile ads, if done right, can be
tremendously effective.  A great summary of Facebook’s experience and
success in mobile ad serving can be found here.
 Facebook has found that their ability to monetize via mobile is very
strong, with mobile users 15x more likely to click and 22% more users
likely to comment on an article.  And this article covers the top reasons why 2012 is seen as the year when mobile ads finally have taken off.

4) Mobile Revenue is really valuable

Mobile apps are projected to generate $38b by 2015.  The NY Times Bits blog from earlier this year has a story from earlier this year with these projections.

Global Smartphone and App Revenue

Source: NY Times Bits Blog & Forrester Research

And that revenue is continuing to grow at a remarkable clip.  Both
Google Play and the Apple App Store are growing at consistently big

Source: Business Insider

Here’s some more remarkable stats: check out this chart which shows that Apple now moving more apps then tunes.  The article this is taken from estimates that Apple is likely making more money from apps then tunes.

Download Rate Apps vs Tunes

Source: InsideMobileApps

Of course that good news is majorly tempered by the recent report
that half that revenue is going to just 25 developers, most of them game


5) More time is now spent in apps then web browsing

Here’s the kicker: more time is being spent in Apps then in Browsers on Mobile.  This post from Flurry clearly illustrates where time is being spent by mobile users and the trend towards apps vs browsing:

Time Spent in Apps vs Browsing

Source: Flurry


Build apps.  For B-B relationships, it’s obvious –
your customers are on mobile.  For B-C relationships, it’s obvious, but
clearly risky to assume you have a clear path to a top spot in any
particular store.  It really does require a comprehensive plan for
designing, building, marketing, and all the other countless things you
have to do to make a business initiative a success.  Ultimately the
catchy term B-E (where E = everywhere) does make sense, whether it’s
another business, a consumer, or an internal enterprise app.

Keith Teare said it best in this amazing article:  “Any company that isn’t primarily delivering its service via mobile five years from now will probably be irrelevant.”

Whether it’s mobile first or #MobileOnly, the conclusions are pretty clear.

Dan Katcher is the CEO & Founder of Rocket Farm Studios.  You can find this blog post, as well as additional content on the Rocket Farm Studios' blog.  You can also follow Dan on Twitter (@genericdan) by clicking here.