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10 Mobile trends for 2020

The total number of mobile subscribers in India currently are 1.2 billion according to TRAI. This is not a revolution it’s a Tsunami, multiple revolutions rolled into one. The advantage of being an emerging or laggard market is that one can leapfrog forward faster and skip generations of technological evolution. India needs to build very quickly on this huge explosion of mobile devices in the country.

Going forward mobile devices will be a catalyst for growth and lead digital and business transformation. The telecom wars, democratisation of data and government impetus is driving this growth. Right from ecommerce, education, entertainment, gaming, shared services, subscription services, banking, payment wallets, accessing government services, groceries, dining, shopping, etc the opportunities that are staring at us are huge. The biggest change that mobile devices are driving is in customer experience. It’s not only ease and convenience, its all about the user experience and expectations. Mobile has singlehandedly been driving the ‘moment’-ary marketing and real time marketing phenomena. Multiple technologies like AI, ML, VR, AR, IoT, programmatic buying, geo-location, beacons, chat bots and virtual assistants will drive customer experience and the mobile will be at the heart of all these developments.

An average Indian is spending one-third of his or her waking hours on phone – nearly 1,800 hours a year! If ever there is a mobile captive audience, this is it. According to eMarketer, Mobile ad spending in India grew at a staggering 42.2% in 2019, making it the fastest growing market ahead of Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

I wanted to keep the trends simple and easy, hence have just outlined 10 of them that will drive customer experience and technology in 2020.

#1. Mobile Wallets

The Indian mobile wallet market is projected to grow from around $ 16 billion in 2018 to $ 184 billion by 2024, the growth during 2019 – 2024 is at CAGR of 40+%.  This is attributable to growing smartphone usage, lower data costs and rising internet penetration across the country. E-com players are also now increasingly accepting mobile wallets for convenience of their customers, currently money transfer transactions dominate but, online food ordering is anticipated to grow at the fastest pace. Some of the popular wallets include -Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, Mobikwik; PayZapp, Axis Pay, and BHIM. I think it’s time for organisations to include mobile wallets into their apps.

#2. Chatbots

In 2020, the integration of chatbots to mobile apps will really hasten. Mobile apps for online shopping, food delivery, and rideshares will incorporate chatbots as part of their apps to enhance customer experience and reduce costs. According to Gartner, Chatbots will deliver $8 billion in cost savings by 2022.

#3.  Wearables

According to Statista, the number of connected wearable devices is expected to reach 929 million by 2021 and 1.2 billion by 2022. Going forward wearable apps will become an integral part of our lives. The User Interface and User Experience will evolve and show only highly relevant information. They will become light weight, fast and have greater computational ability.

#4.  Internet of Things

Brands like Amazon and Google already have the Echo line of devices and Google Home Voice Controller. Google’s acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 billion and its collaboration with Nest, a Home security camera manufacturer, augurs well for faster IoT integration with mobile devices. All tech giants are developing IoT friendly apps. By 2020, IoT investments will reach a mind-blowing $120 billion.

#5. Beacons

Beacon-based notifications will dial up context-based customer connects. It has been lapped up by Hotels, Retail, Healthcare, etc. It’s of great use in location technology and proximity marketing. Beacons primarily are wireless transmitters that use Bluetooth to send signals. It helps in the information exchange of sales. Beacons are especially effective in the retail sector. According to GeoMarketing, by 2020, the number of beacon deployments is expected to reach 400 million globally, generating $56 million by 2026.

#6. Instant Apps

Also known as native mobile applications, they are smaller in size than usual apps, user-friendly, and highly convenient because they don’t need to be downloaded. They are becoming more and more popular among iOS and Android developers as they drive better conversion rates compared to regular mobile apps. As users demand shorter load times, instant apps are certain to be a trend in 2020. NYTimes has claimed that they were able to increase the conversion rate of their app from 20% to 27% just by introducing an instant app. With Google Play Instant, people can tap to try an app or game without installing it first.

#7. On-demand apps

We live in a convenience and experience economy and the engine that is driving this growth is on-demand services. The on-demand apps offer multiple service like education, grocery delivery apps, taxi apps, food delivery apps, etc. Place a request in the relevant app, and the service will reach you. 2020 will be turning point for on-demand apps. More and more start-up ideas addressing the unique needs of Indian consumers will come up in this space.

#8. Virtual reality and Augmented Reality

More mobile apps will adapt to augmented reality and virtual reality. Real world experiences are being integrated into mobile apps. Pokemon Go is the best example of an augmented reality mobile app.  According to reports, Pokemon Go has been downloaded approximately 752 million times and generated revenues of more than $1.2 billion. At the other end of the spectrum, VR learning content is all set to revolutionize education, making learning more immersive and engaging. Mixed Reality (MR) is the next frontier. In Mixed Reality, virtual content is not only overlaid on augmented reality but is also anchored to and interacts with the environment.

#9. Artificial Intelligence

AI will drive smarter apps. Tech news for mobile devices is all about artificial intelligence. Many businesses including BFSI, health care, customer service, etc., will integrate AI into their native apps.  The best use of an AI facial recognition feature being used in a smartphone is Face ID. Apps like snapchat have taken this to another level. Voice recognition, language translations in real time and a combination of AI with IoT will drive almost real time exchange of information amongst devices leading to a better customer experience.

#10. 5G

As it is sometime away in India, I touched upon this last. But once it happens it will have a huge impact on the mobile devices. The biggest impact is the speed – 100 times faster than the 4G network. It not only lowers latency, but also boasts of a maximum speed of 20 Gigabits per second! It will potentially transform the Internet, provide a much more personalized web experience using a technique called Network Slicing. “Network slicing is about the ability to virtually create a set of capabilities that you’re able to control and extend, as the end consumer of that slice, moving along the different locations of a distributed site,” says Sree Koratala, head of 5G technology and strategy in North America, Ericsson. South Korea, USA, Japan, China will be the first ones to roll out 5G services in 2020.

Mobile devices are driving the entire personalisation journey. It is not just an engagement channel; it is now an experience platform. Brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Nike, have already integrated mobile into their marketing strategies. Many Marketers are yet to do this integration but the sooner they do it, the better. And I am not for a moment suggesting that mobile is not part of the marketing effort currently.  What I am saying is that it is not that well integrated and does not holistically map the entire journey from awareness to engagement to acquisition to retention.

CMOs will need to integrate meaningful mobile metrics into their KPIs. Lift in acquiring new customers, next best offering, incremental revenues, CLTV, customer experience scores must be part of the key metrics.

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