Organizations across the world are augmenting strategies to prepare for a new year of mobile trends. 2013 promises more software, more competition, more innovation, and a much more demanding group of consumers. The app market is sizzling, the tablet market is gaining its own identity, and customers are more empowered than ever. Analyst firm Forrester Research is predicting a strong, often demanding year for digital businesses. Here are a few key points from their latest predictions.
1. The App Storm
The drivers behind mobile businesses are pushing the app revolution well into 2013. Apps are fun, easy for businesses to create, and – for venture-oriented developers – still highly lucrative. Much like the rush to make a website in the mid-2000s, the rush to release an app for every business has arrived. Consumers can expect apps from restaurants, gas stations, churches, grocery stores, entertainment industries, and much more.
2. The Gulf Between Tablets and Phones Grows
While businesses on a budget are still creating the same ads and apps for tablets as they are for smartphones, Forrester analyst Thomas Husson believes this is a bad idea. The tablet market is becoming increasingly differentiated from the phone industry. People use tablets for entirely different purposes than phones. Few people curl up in front of a favorite episode with their smartphone in their lap. In the world of mobile trends, 2013 will see tablets continue taking the place of phones at business meetings, study sessions, and in classrooms.
In addition to context, tablets differentiate themselves by their capabilities. The sharp screens and processing power can handle graphics and software that phones could never manage to rival. This leaves the door open for far more complex, entertainment-oriented creations on tablets, while phones are being used more for utility, location, and travel. Tablets and phones are two different mobile markets, and businesses that keep one strategy for both in 2013 are going to fall behind.
3. The Year of the Customer
“This year, over Christmas, what became suddenly and sparklingly clear is that mobile’s biggest impact is that it shifts power away from institutions and toward individuals,” says Ted Schadler, principal analyst and VP at Forrester, in his blog. “The only question is whether you shift power to customers and employees willingly (and to the benefit of your company) or whether a disrupter or competitor does it for you.”
The point Schadler makes is one countless businesses have realized in past months, and one reason the mobile market is growing so rapidly. But there is a difference between doing something and doing it well. No doubt 2013 will also become the year of myriad failed apps and mobile sites as companies copy their competitors without understanding how to properly engage or enable customers.
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