Data released by eBay/PayPal and IBM today show some early holiday 2011 digital commerce trends. PayPal (and parent eBay) said that there were two mobile shopping peaks yesterday across its various sites. The first happened between 1pm and 2pm PST. The other occurred between 6pm and 7pm PST.
The most popular merchandise categories on eBay mobile were the following:
The top mobile-purchased items in the electronics category were:
PayPal also recorded a "511% [increase] in global mobile payment volume compared to Thanksgiving 2010."
IBM reported that "Thanksgiving 2011 sales were up 39 percent over Thanksgiving 2010." The company also said the following about mobile traffic and purchases yesterday:
EBay has said that it will record roughly $5 billion in mobile purchases and PayPal will process $3.5 billion in mobile payments by the end of 2011. Of course these sites, and rival Amazon, are leveraging a huge installed base of users. These are not new mobile adopters but existing customers who are using mobile apps to carry out transactions. Both eBay and Amazon have invested heavily in mobile apps and their overall mobile user experiences.
All of this is helped quite a bit by consumer credit cards already on file. Most other retailer sites will see significant increases in traffic from mobile devices but not corresponding purchases. The reasons for this will be a poor mobile user experience and/or lack of a stored credit card number. One solution is Card.io, which captures credit card information through the smartphone camera, eliminating the need to key in 16 digits.
Tablets are at the top of many holiday wishlists and smartphones aren't very far behind. Both are being aggressively promoted online and in stores this weekend in the US. Heavy price discounting should move a lot of Android tablets (and handsets). Laptop and PC sales generally may suffer as a result.
Below, for example, US wireless carrier Verizon is selling the Motorola Xoom 10" and Samsung 7" tablets for $199 and $149 respectively. Both require commitment to a two-year contract, something most US consumers have thus far shunned.
Online retail giant Amazon is featuring a broad range of discounted tablets, beyond its own Kindle line, with many under $300 and some falling under $100. So while the iPad has the overwhelming share of tablet-based traffic today it's almost certain that will be diminished after the holidays.
Aggressive price discounting has emerged as the key to driving non-iPad tablet sales (first the HP TouchPad and then Kindle Fire). But this is a very dubious blessing for Android tablet OEMs, who may find their margins on tablets reduced to almost nothing. Apple by contrast has not had to lower prices to get attention or maintain share. We'll see what happens after the holidays.
What we're seeing now is the bi-bifurcation of the tablet market. There's a higher-end segment ($500 and above) dominated by the iPad, with almost no competition, and a lower-end segment ($250 and below) dominated by Amazon's Kindle line and Nook. Other OEMs are getting squeezed in the middle, unable to compete on quality at the high end or price at the low end for the most part. There are some "no-name" tablets priced lower than Kindle.
This looks like the smartphone market, with inexpensive Android models driving rapid penetration across carriers and the iPhone appealing to higher-end consumers. There are obviously exceptions and some of the "flagship" Android devices have done well. Yet Android has not yet been able to establish the kind of brand identity and loyalty that the iPhone has enjoyed.
A recent survey by GFK found that:
GFK also found that content and apps were keys to device/operating system loyalty:
As consumers build digital ecosystems and their own world of content on handsets, the study shows that their loyalty to their smartphone brand increases with the number of apps and services they use. The research reveals that the tipping point for loyalty is when a consumer uses seven or more services on their device.
Consumers in the US are the most likely to use seven or more services (61%), followed closely by China (56%) and Brazil (53%). In comparison to this, European countries use fewer services on their smartphone; France and Italy (46%), Germany (45%), Spain (43%) and the UK (42%)
This survey also reveals the uphill battle that Windows Phones now face as they try to "break in," although more than 50% of the market still don't have smartphones -- which remains a substantial opportunity.
There are three pieces of data recently out that paint a modestly upbeat, if mixed, picture for Windows Phones. Though Nokia's Lumia phones are not being released in the US until next year, awareness and potential demand for the Microsoft-powered devices in the US are rising (with Samsung and HTC models available).
According to recent survey data from The NPD Group, among those seeking to buy a smartphone within the next six months, a meaningful percentage of would-be smartphone buyers are considering a Windows Phone. Here are a few survey highlights:
The availability of apps is critical to the near and long-term success of Windows Phones. To that end Distimo, which tracks app store inventories and downloads, released data showing strong growth of apps in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace:
Overall the Windows Phone Marketplace now has roughly 40,000 apps according to All About Windows Phone. While this is a fraction of what's in the iTunes app store or Android market, The Windows Marketplace is just a year old this month. Microsoft is currently running a promotion where they give new Windows Phone buyers $25 to spend on apps.
This positive momentum is tempered by a widely covered "downgrade" of the new Nokia Windows Phones. An analyst at Pacific Crest Securities cut his forecast for Nokia Windows Phone sales by 75% (from 2M to 500K). This was based on his view that Nokia Windows Phones were not sufficiently differentiated and were without "breakthrough innovation." He also believed they were not aggressively enough priced to generate significant demand.
However Nokia has said it will use price to compete. One must also recognize that this is one person's judgment based on preliminary information. Yet if this prediction comes true and another year of Nokia-Windows phones goes buy with unimpressive sales (and Nokia's share continues to decline) it will signal a major problem (even panic time) for both Nokia and Microsoft.
I've not had my hands on an Kindle Fire but the reviews are generally fair to negative, except in the context of its price: "a good tablet for the price" is the consensus. And consumers are responding to that price in large numbers. Amazon will sell millions of Kindle Fire tablets to existing Kindle owners and to some would-be iPad buyers seduced by the $199 price and the assurances of the Amazon brand.
Amazon is also intending to release a larger version of the Kindle Fire next year, though it won't be quite as large as the iPad. Putting aside the Nook and hypothetical Windows tablets, Amazon's Kindle Fire is instantly the most successful tablet after the iPad by a huge margin.
Until someone else comes along with a cheaper, better Android tablet Amazon owns the market. So when the dust settles early next year after holiday sales are over it will effectively be a two tablet market: Apple vs. Amazon. I say "Apple vs. Amazon" because Amazon has effectively obscured all Android (and Google) branding. Most people buying a Kindle Fire don't know or care that they're buying an "Android device."
It's possible that Samsung or HTC will build a competitive tablet featuring Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich"). But the current crop of Gingerbread and Honeycomb tablets simply "blow" (as they say in the vernacular) by comparison to the iPad. It would also be very challenging for any Android tablet maker to match Amazon's pricing given that the company is effectively taking a loss -- sellig the device for less than it costs to make on the assumption that it will increase product and content sales for Amazon.
There is a scenario where wireless carriers give away some future, stellar Android tablet in exchange for two year contract commitments. However, consumers are basically loathe to enter into a second set of wireless contracts beyond the ones they already have for their smartphones. WiFi tablets are more popular than carrier-subsidized tablets. It's therefore a much longer shot.
Recent consumer surveys from Retrevo, Nielsen and ChangeWave have shown increasing demand for tablets, with the iPad leading the group but with Kindle also in the clear second position.
As tablets replace PCs for some people the question of how other PC OEMs repond to the Apple-Amazon challenge becomes a major, strategic question. As Samsung, Dell and others have already shown, they can't (so far) match Apple on quality or hardware-software integration. And they can't match Amazon on price.
Thus until the forseeable future it's a two tablet race. And right now Amazon owns Android.
A year ago Mocospace was a pure mobile-social network. Now it's a mobile gaming platform that draws revenue increasingly from microtransactions instead of advertising. I had been quite skeptical of Mocospace's prospects over the longer term, chiefly because of Facebook's entry into the mobile market. However Mocospace is on a different path today and in a much stronger position as either an acquisition target or, perhaps less likely, an IPO candidate if it gets big enough.
According to CEO and co-founder Justin Siegel Mocospace has been profitable for two years. He told me that one of the reasons they shifted the model is because "The ad market is very cyclical and tied to the well-being of the economy." Microtransactions were perceived to be more stable. "We have more control and the business model is more lucrative," explained Siegel.
He gave me some stats about the company today:
Siegal's own background is in mobile gaming and he always thought that games would be incorporated into Mocospace at some point. But when the company started in 2005 the model was Friendster and MySpace. "We thought we could bring social to mobile," said Siegal.
At a certain point Siegal and his team decided to "pivot" (I suspect partly motivated by Facebook's mobile growth). Mocospace surveyed its users, more than 50% of whom fall into the 18-30 age range, and discovered that "the vast majority were gamers."
"Over the next 12 months we'll be scaling back advertising," said Siegal. But the company won't eliminate advertising entirely. "We want to grow the business in a sustainable way." Indeed, having consumer micropayments as a revenue stream makes the company a lot more sustainable and attractive than if it were to rely entirely on advertising.
Last month the company acquired Geocade, an LBS games platform, which argues that it will be taking virtual games into the real world very soon.
App store Xyologic released some interesting data yesterday about publisher/developer adoption of ad network SDKs for the Android platform. What the charts below reflect are the percentages of the top apps that have installed the identified ad networks to deliver advertising.
Many of these apps access more than one SDK so there's no way to precisely extrapolate revenue from these figures. However they directionally reflect market share and revenue trends. The column on the right in the second chart below shows the percentage of all downloads in October among the top apps with mobile advertising.
According to Xyologic, the "others" category includes "AdMarvel, Smaato, Burstly, Mopub, Nexage, Fiksu, and mobile ad network Jumptap who each make up less than 3% each of the overall market share." The tiny share of Jumptap is a bit of a surprise.
Once again, iAD doesn't appear in this list because this is about the Android OS and not the iPhone.
One of the big trends of the past few years has been the "consumerization of enterprise IT." This manifests in various ways, including the emergence of enterprise "social" tools that mimic consumer sites and user experiences (e.g., Salesforce's Chatter). Another way in which enterprise IT is changing is that workers now have more choice about the devices that they can use on the network.
RIM's stronghold and bulwark against irrelevance had been the corporate IT department, but that's no longer the case. The iPhone is now the top smartphone in the enterprise according to a new survey, the iPass 2011 Mobile Enterprise Report (based on 2,300 responses from workers at 1,100 enterprises globally).
Below are a selection of data presented in the survey report:
Current enterprise smartphone share:
Intention to buy smartphones in 2012:
Current tablet share in the enterprise:
Another interesting finding is that a growing number of workers (especially younger workers) leave their laptops at the office more frequently. Roughly 42% of workers said they left their business laptops at the office at least several days a week because they have alternative devices at home.
Question: Do you leave your business laptop at work on weekends/evenings and just use your smartphone or tablet?
In tandem with the above finding the survey discovered that roughly 25% of respondents said they were using their laptops less today than a year ago.
The Gap has enabled Google Wallet at 65 San Fransisco Bay Area stores (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Banana Republic Factory Stores and Gap Outlet). You can still only pay with MasterCard and a Google Prepaid Card, which you can fill with another credit card. Eventually Google wall "accept" all sorts of cards into Wallet.
To promote the initiative Gap is giving Google Wallet users 15% off. The deal is presented in the Google Wallet app, in the "offers" area.
Google doesn't "see" any of the transactions today (and may never see them precisely). It only knows a transaction was made and the city in which it was made. It doesn't know the amount, the item or the store. However the Gap, in this case, knows all that information.
Beyond the fact that this represents a convenience for the consumer it offers a powerful analytics capability to the marketer. In the not-too-distant future brands and marketers will be able to track promotions and ads to the point of sale with services like Google Wallet. In a lower-tech way Foursquare offers a similar capability through check-ins. The larger point is that NFC, check-ins and point of sale integration are starting to enable marketers to get more visibility on online-->offline transactions (or traditional media to POS). This is a major development and the arrival of a new form of analytics.
By the day there's some new mobile payments announcement it seems. Indeed, the world of mobile payments is starting to get pretty noisy and potentially confusing to merchants and consumers. Visa, Amex, Mastercard, Verifone, Google, Apple, mobile carriers, eBay/PayPal, Square, Intuit and others are all competing for consumer and merchant attention. While not all of these players are directly competing, many of them are.
On the merchant side there need to be standards or at least compatible systems to enable mass consumer adoption of mobile payments. Fragmentation or different standards and systems will confuse and frustrate merchants and consumers alike, and only delay adoption.
Very small merchants and service providers will likely turn to simple-to-adopt services like Square. Larger entities will ultimately adopt NFC-based systems I suspect. Broad adoption by retailers like the Gap helps the cause accordingly.
Local mobile ad network xAd has released its first quarterly report on local mobile user behavior and ads. I've done a general write-up at Search Engine Land. The company collected the data from its 10 billion monthly ad impressions and 90 million monthly local-search requests. The data in the report were captured between July and September.
A couple of highlights:
The top local search categories according to xAd data:
Most interesting to me was the discussion of ad performance and "secondary actions." CTRs on ads in apps were 8% vs. 5% for ads appearing in the browser.
When you consider that average online display ad CTRs are 0.09% you see that this performance is dramatically better. Indeed, InsightExpress and Dynamic Logic have both documented how mobile display outperforms online across all metrics.
In addition to browser vs. apps differences, xAd documents ad performance variations between iOS and Android. While CTR rates on the iPhone and Android are roughly comparable, "secondary actions" are greater on iOS: calls, map/directions lookups and review drill downs. Interestingly calls are happen more frequently in a browser context. But they're also the most popular "post-search" secondary action (62%) across the board, followed by maps and directions lookups (35%).
Previously xAd reported that its CPMs average $30. Other specialized US-based local-mobile ad networks include CityGrid, AT&Ti, Verve Wireless, Navteq, JiWire, LSN Mobile, Chitika, Marchex and Where.com.
According to Gartner, phones running the Android OS "sold" (read: shipped) at dramatically higher rates in Q3 than competing platforms. As the chart below reflects, Android's share of Q3 smartphone shipments more than doubled vs. last year. Nearly all others declined.
The iPhone was almost at parity with Symbian, which declined by more than 50% vs. 2010. RIM and Microsoft also declined.
Looking at overall mobile operating system share on a global basis, StatCounter shows Symbian still leading. Apple's iOS and Android are essentially tied about 10 points behind Symbian.
In the US, NPD Group said that in Q3 Apple had the top-two selling smartphones:
Appcelerator released its Q4 developer survey this morning (n=2,160 developers). It does the survey quarterly in conjunction with IDC.
There are a number of findings but the big ones are: Kindle Fire has rocketed past other tablets in terms of developer interest and Windows Phones similarly moved past RIM:
Despite their enthusiasm for Kindle Fire, developers expressed concern about increasing fragmentation in the Android universe.
It's important to keep in mind that these findings are based on perception and not an indication of actual market share; however they're correlated with consumer adoption in many cases. Developers are excited about the Kindle Fire's low price point and perceived demand. It also appears that developers have largely given up on RIM. However if new RIM devices showed consumer traction we'd see these figures change again. Consumer adoption and audience size are the key drivers of developer interest followed by capacity to monetize their apps.
Another finding of the report is that there's relatively little developer interest in "connected TV" (e.g., Google, Apple TV) -- at least until consumers show interest at scale.
In written testimony submitted to the US Senate Judiciary committee on antitrust, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt identified Apple's voice assistant Siri as a competitor in mobile search:
Moreover, history shows that popular technology is often supplanted by entirely new models. Even in the few weeks since the hearing, Apple has launched an entirely new approach to search technology with Siri, its voice-activated search and task-completion service built into the iPhone 4S. As one respected technology site reported: “[E]veryone keeps insisting that Apple will eventually get into the search engine business. Well they have. But not in the way that everyone was thinking. Siri is their entry point.” Another commentator has described Siri more simply as intended to be a “Google killer."
The hyperbolic "Google killer" designation is invoked by Schmidt to show that Google is beset by competition on all sides. I've written previously that Siri may actually increase the number of Google searches coming from the iPhone, as people discover they can "search the Web for . . ." Siri can also be used to search Bing or Yahoo, though most people continue to have Google as their "default" search provider on the iPhone.
In the short term Siri doesn't to anything to degrade Google search query volumes. As I said it may increase them. Over time, as apps become integrated into Siri, people may use it as a tool to access their favorite vertical search or content providers for local, travel, health, weather and so on. In such a scenario (which is how the original Siri app was set up and intended to be used), Google could see less traffic. However that's speculative at this point.
The way that Siri "harms" Google today is by making itself and not Google the starting point for mobile search and discovery on the iPhone. It hasn't become that for most users but it could in short order. Siri sits "on top" of Google (or Bing) just as Google sits on top of third party sites and content on the PC.
In that way Siri supplants the Google brand and becomes the "go to" source for information for iPhone 4S owners. This is the way that Siri really damages Google, at least in the near term. It potentially does to Google what Google has done to so many third party content providers online.
I don't actually think that Siri is Steve Jobs' revenge -- he famously threatened to spend all Apple's cash reserves to destroy Android -- I just wrote that to get attention.
QR codes are proliferating yet it's not clear that consumers are "getting it." ScanLife, it is Q3 trends report, says that 2D or QR barcode scanning is growing dramatically:
However US and UK consumer surveys indicate that most consumers don't know what a QR code is and only between 6% and 11% have ever scanned one (in the UK it appears to be 19%). According to comScore data, QR code scanners are mainly men and younger people (18-34) vs. other market segments.
Somewhat strangely, QR codes seem to polarize marketers. There are some very vocal and aggressive QR code detractors that consider the technology a failure. And many see QR codes as some sort of interim step before NFC technology become mass market.
In a parallel vein there's augmented reality ("AR"), which is a "cool technology" chasing a mass market use case. AR continues to be more of a novelty than something really useful to consumers -- or marketers. But it has potential in many non-commercial and commercial situations.
Then there's NFC, which has been written about extensively in connection with the launch of Google Wallet and mobile payments. Beyond payments, NFC is also a marketing tool and can deliver content and marketing messages to a handset with a simple touch of the device on an NFC-enabled surface or receiver. Given that very close proximity is required to invoke NFC it's not a substitute in all situations for AR or QR codes, which can both work from a distance.
A category that will likely subsume and incorporate all these technologies and tools is "visual search." Exemplified by Google Goggles or Amazon's new "Flow" app, it simply asks consumers to position the handset/camera over or in front of an object and then delivers information: reviews, prices, nearby stores, additional content and so on.
The notion of "visual search" is conceptually simpler and much more consumer friendly than "Augmented Reality," "QR codes" or "NFC." For that reason I believe that visual search will become the metaphor or category name for a range of approaches and technologies that are collectively about getting information or content (whether commercial or non-commercial) into the handset through the smartphone lens.
NFC, AR and QR Codes all wear their complexity on their proverbial sleeves, while the term "visual search" buries the technological complexity behind a very descriptive and easy to understand concept.
I would argue that Android owes its success directly to the iPhone. Putting aside the claims that Android "stole" the iPhone's look and feel, carriers and hardware OEMs had no response to the iPhone in 2007 other than Android. Hence the carrier and OEM embrace of the Google OS. It was something of a marriage of convenience.
Despite the incredible success of Android, handset makers' relationships with the platform might be described as "ambivalent." They want to avoid becoming merely "commodity producers" of Android devices and reduced to the fate of their desktop brethren, which essentially became vendors of nearly indistinguishable "gray boxes" running PC Windows. Accordingly HTC, Samsung and Motorola have tried to develop, unsuccessfully I would argue, proprietary software on top of Android to differentiate from one another.
While the new Windows Phone OS represents an alternative to Android, none of the hardware makers other than Nokia has enthusiastically embraced it. If it sells well for Nokia we might see that change. But there are those who also argue that Microsoft risks alienating other hardware OEMs with its Nokia favoritism.
All this makes me wonder if the market wants yet another open-source OS as an alternative to Android. Reportedly Mozilla, maker of the Firefox browser, is working on a mobile operating system "based on the Web, as opposed to what the project’s wiki calls 'proprietary, single-vendor stacks.'” But this doesn't appear to be viable in the near term as an Android alternative.
What about WebOS? HP was going to kill it. But since the abrupt replacement of CEO Leo Apotheker with Meg Whitman many of his decisions are being reversed. The fate of WebOS is unclear right now and may be decided this year or early next. But what about making WebOS an open-source Android competitor?
I'm not a developer or engineer but WebOS was and is positively regarded by the developer community; it has just been mismanaged and poorly marketed. But my view is that if HP were to turn it into an open-source mobile operating system there would be takers and it could gain new life. My suspicion is that makers would be interested in a high-quality alternative to Android to further diversify their handset lineups and give themselves some additional leverage vis-a-vis Google.
WebOS's app ecosystem is paltry by comparison to iOS and Androids but that could be rectified over time.
I think an open-source WebOS is intriguing; however HP doesn't have a direct way to benefit from it as Google benefits from Android with advertising. Whatever it decides about the fate of WebOS I hope HP doesn't kill it outright.
With the caveat that these numbers are focused on "shipments" and not sales, IDC confirms other hardware-tracking firms' estimates showing that Samsung took the global smartphone crown from Apple in Q3. However, the firm said that the iPhone 4S should challenge the Korean company's newly established leadership position.
Samsung and Apple are engaged in an increasingly bitter, global legal dispute over patents, which has just become an EU anti-trust investigation as well. Amazingly, Samsung remains one of Apple's major suppliers.
According to the IDC data, Taiwan-based HTC also experienced triple-digit growth on the strength of its Android device sales.
In the chart above, Nokia is off nearly 40%. But this is "BW," before Windows Phones. The firm just released its first Microsoft-based phones, which have received positive but not spectacular reviews.
In the "others" category presumably is Windows Phones generally. In the US, Microsoft's mobile market share stands at either 7% or 5.7% percent according to Nielsen and comScore respectively.
Earlier this morning Nielsen released its latest smartphone data for the US market:
By comparison comScore says that 36% of mobile phone owners have smartphones. However the most recent comScore data show a comparable share distribution for Android and the iPhone (43.7% vs. 27.3%).
Nielsen also reported that smartphone ownership for those under 45 is much greater than the overall population: 54%. It goes even higher (62%) for those 25 to 34 years old.
The Pew Internet Project said in May of this year that 42% of US mobile users own smartphones. And in a release of new survey data yesterday, Pew found that 50% of all mobile phone users have downloaded apps (vs. 43% in May 2010). However, as we know, downloads and usage are not synonymous.
As the chart above indicates, 51% of mobile phone app downloaders use between 1 and 5 apps weekly. A substantial minority (31%) use 6 or more apps per week. Average weekly app usage is higher among tablet owners.
The following chart shows the general categories downloads by populatirty/penetration according to Pew. Curiously the most popular app download category, games, doesn't appear on this list. This is probably a flaw in Pew's survey question design.
Finally, Pew says that just under half (46%) of all app downloaders have paid for apps at some point, with most spending less than $5.
Appcelerator has secured $15 million in funding from a set of investors that is led by Mayfield Fund, TransLink Capital and Red Hat, with eBay, Sierra and Storm Ventures also participating. The proceeds a earmarked to cover global expansion for what the company already calls "the largest 3rd-party publisher in the Apple iTunes store and the Android marketplace. It claims to support a community of over 1.6 million developers who, over the years, have placed 30,000 mobile apps for more than 30 million different devices into its portfolio. The announcement contained other fascinating measures of growth at Appcelerator. For one thing, the firm has grown from 17 to over 100 employees in the space of 12 months. Some of the growth is the result of acquisitions. Aptana, with its mobile app IDE (Integrated Development Environment) was acquired in January as we reported here. On October 24, the company acquired Particle Code with expertise and a development platform focusing on HTML5 apps, especially for gaming.
Both the investments and the acquisitions aim at overcoming platform fragmentation. Far too much attention is paid to the battle between iOS and Android in a world where we all know that each brand, device type and form factor has its own specifications, extensions and design characteristics. Clearly it takes more than a village to provide the development platform and resources to enable application creators and developers to write their code once and see that it reaches the broadest audience (and monetization opportunities) possible. Appcelerator's approach to cross-platform application delivery has led to explosive growth (500% annually by its measure). Just as important, it has attracted high-visibility brands like NBC, Zipcar, ING, Merck, Medtronic, Michael’s Stores, Progressive, and GameStop to use its development and delivery mechanisms. The $15 million in additional capital will provide the wherewithal to take its act global.
There are two competing "memes" circulating simultaneously. The first, reaffirmed by the recent Samsung Q3 handset data and associated coverage, is that Android has "blown past" Apple/iOS to claim smartphone leadership across the board. The second, which flies directly in the face of the first is that Android is a distant second to iOS when it comes to mobile Web usage.
How does one reconcile these conflicting reports? Let's look at some of the data circulating today that illustrate these contradictions.
The Guardian in the UK published a chart showing Android handsets eclipsing everyone else in the smartphone space. RIM leads the iPhone and everyone else is well behind them. (iPads, iPod Touch devices aren't included in this data.)
Below is an IDC smartphone share graphic for the US market; it's quite similar to the UK chart above. It shows Android leading all challengers by a considerable margin, followed by the iPhone and then RIM.
Now take a look at StatCounter global smartphone data for the past month. The chart below shows mobile OS share of traffic. According to StatCounter, iOS and Android are almost dead even. That's a far cry from the data above, and the Net Applications data I discuss below.
The following two charts are from Net Applications. They reflect Internet access from mobile devices. They show something radically different that the data above, a very dominant iOS.
Here's the same data presented in another way. It shows Safari and iOS with a dominant mobile market share vs. Android.
There's a bit of "apples to oranges" in all this because the Net Applications data include all iOS devices, whereas the top two charts above only feature comparison of smartphones. However the StatCounter chart in the middle presumably includes iPads and iPod Touches in its "iOS" category. But if so why wouldn't these data be closer to the Net Applications data?
How can Android devices have such a marketshare lead and iOS be so dominant in terms of mobile Internet usage? This is a mystery that I'm waiting for someone to explain.
This morning Google has launched a new site (HowToGoMo) intended to educate marketers large and small about the importance of mobile, and direct them to vendors that can build sites for them. I've written up the announcement and initiative generally at Search Engine Land.
The site offers mobile case studies, data on why you need a mobile site ("61% of users are unlikely to return to a site that’s not mobile-friendly") and the ability to see what your site currently looks like on a smartphone.
The most interesting part of the site from my perspective is a vendor marketplace together with a set of filters that help you choose one. The questions or filter fall into three categories:
There are 12 vendors that are likely to see a bunch of new leads from this site (Google isn't making any money from the leads). It will definitely help SMBs and enterprises accelerate mobile site adoption. As I wrote yesterday, In March of this year Google reported that the overwhelming majority (79%) of its top advertisers didn’t have a mobile-optimized site. But a new report from a firm called the Acquity Group found that 37% of the Internet Retailer 500 now do.
Just nine months ago, the overwhelming majority of small business (SMB) owners didn’t consider mobile an important marketing channel. In February 2011 we found that SMBs had very limited understanding and usage of mobile. Roughly 83% said they were not doing any form of mobile marketing.
However a more recent survey by Borrell Associates, among 484 small business owners, found that “four out of every five plan to spend money on mobile marketing this year; [and] on average these businesses expect to devote more than 20 percent of their ad budgets to mobile initiatives.” The survey also reported that 56% of these SMB respondents had been pitched mobile marketing solutions by “vendors or media outlets.”
In the larger context of yellow pages publishers and other SMB sales channels pitching mobile, as well as widespread adoption of smartphones by small merchants, this Google initiative -- especially its vendor marketplace -- will help speed SMB mobile site adoption.
Earlier this year Google reported that the overwhelming majority (79%) of its top advertisers didn't have a mobile-optimized site. However, a new analysis from the Acquity Group found that a substantial number (37%) of the Internet Retailer Top 500 companies now have a mobile site.
This is up from a level of 12% last year and only 4% in 2009. Those are dramatic increases, reflective of retailers responding to massive consumer adoption of smartphones. The study also reported that roughly 26% of retailers have at least one mobile app; and 18% had both a mobile site and an app.
While 37% have a mobile site, about 26% have one or more apps -- with the iPhone leading the way:
The "Top 10" mobile retailers were: Amazon, Armani Exchange, Barnes & Noble, Buy.com, Cabela’s, Gilt Groupe, The Home Depot, Newegg, Walgreens and Wal-Mart. Here's the hierarchical ranking according to Acquity's scoring:
An interesting question is whether mobile revenues for these retailers are at all commensurate with their investments in the user experience. With Amazon at least, we know that has been true.