The first social networking sites got their start on desktops before going to the small screen: Facebook, Twitter… MySpace!
Some mobile games first ruled the PC: Grand Theft Auto, Farmville… Solitaire!
But nowadays, it’s all about mobile.
On the surface, mobile everything doesn’t seem to make sense—you’re looking at a smaller screen, you’re paying for all that data, and your phone depreciates more quickly than your car—and yet a mobile phone is the device of choice for billions around the world.
Since consumers have such a firm grip on their handhelds, many companies have now gone mobile from Day One, from social apps (Snapchat), to games (Pokemon Go), to dating apps (Tinder)—and new companies are forced to keep up.
Here are the six reasons why more and more startups are choosing to go mobile:
More People Are Using Mobile Than Ever Before
According to a series of surveys conducted by Pew Research Center, 95 percent of Americans own a cellphone:
That means, out of nearly 330 million people in the U.S., some 313,500,000 own a cellphone.
Smartphone use (the green line in the chart) has grown even more quickly as consumers opt for phones that do more than just place and accept calls. Rather than purchasing a watch, a calculator, a flashlight, a camera, a computer and a phone, people today rely on one device that can do it all.
Some People ONLY Have Mobile Devices
You know when you move into a new place or change providers and they try to sell you a bundle of internet, cable and home phone? Well, just like some people only have Netflix, others only have cellphones, and businesses must adapt accordingly.
Just over half of Americans surveyed by the U.S. government near the end of 2016 said they only owned cell phones—i.e., no home phone service. Of the smartphone owners surveyed in the Pew Research study mentioned above, 20 percent do not use broadband services at home—i.e., no home internet.
Nowadays there are too many choices for consumers and the only way for providers to differentiate themselves is through marketing and other incentives (such as T Mobile’s offer to pay for your Netflix).
The bottom line is, mobile is becoming more and more attractive and accessible. Everything is catered toward mobile, making it a consumer’s first choice for media and communication.
Globally, Mobile Rules The Day
As of 2013, average global phone penetration was at 93 percent. You can see regional percentages in the map below.
People owning more than one mobile device accounts for the percentages above 100. Now, look at that chart compared to just 10 years prior:
It’s a stark contrast that really helps to illustrate the global mobile movement. Countries that are considered under-developed, such as regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, are now nearing par with the rest of the world when it comes to active mobile usage.
And the thing about these regions is how quickly growth has happened and continues to happen. Instead of merely steady, growth has been rapid. Just look at the mobile phone growth of South Asia compared to North America below. While we’ve evolved with these technologies and privileges in the Western world, others have only more recently been introduced to them.
Developing economies are expanding while our growth steadies.The key to long-term success will be in figuring out how best to penetrate those under-saturated markets. There is only so much untapped potential in North America, so globalization is paramount for any startup looking to grow and expand. And the fact is, these global communities are most reachable via mobile.
There Are More Monetization Opportunities Than Before
How do people make money from apps?
It depends on how you price and market your app. There are free apps that make money from advertisements, freemium apps that charge for special in-app add-ons and functionalities, paid apps, paymium apps and subscriptions. You can learn more about each of these models in detail in our pricing strategies resource.
These strategies have evolved greatly over time. Some work better for gaming apps, some work better the larger your user base—but as long as you carefully consider your options, each strategy presents an opportunity to make a nice chunk of change for your business.
The Future Is Mobile
All research points to the continued growth of mobile. This video by the GSMA lays it all out nicely:
The GSMA projects that in 2025:
- There will be 5.9 billion unique mobile subscribers
- There will be 5 billion mobile internet users
- 77 percent of mobile connections will be smartphones
- The mobile industry will make up 5 percent of overall GDP
For apps in particular, App Annie projects app downloads to reach 284.3 billion by the year 2020.
Mobile is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon.
The Time Is Now!
So what are you waiting for?
Choosing to build your app idea is the first step. If you’re ready to build your app but not sure where to begin, give us a shout!
There’s never been a better time to get your app on the market because, remember, consumers aren’t out there looking for you. To reach your audience, you need to be where they are, and that’s on their mobile devices.
Today’s mobile economy and future projections are positive. Your piece of the pie is there for the taking!