10 key mobile consumer trends for 2016

MUMBAI: ZenithOptimedia has unveiled 10 trends that show how technology will enable consumers to become increasingly mobile in their behaviour, presenting new engagement opportunities for brands.

Building on ZenithOptimedia’s recent research report with GlobalWebIndex – The Mobile Imperative – which found that young people around the world will spend more time accessing the internet via mobile than via all devices combined by 2018, the agency’s 2016 Trends reveal some of the ways in which people will shift to a truly mobile lifestyle.

Entitled ‘Empowering The Mobile Consumer,’ the 10 trends highlight the need for brands to adopt a truly ‘mobile first’ approach to marketing, as mobile moves from becoming just another medium in the mix, to the underlying platform for brand communication.

Trend 1 - From text to speech: Voice search revolutionises the mobile experience

Voice search has been available for nearly eight years now, but few consumer regularly use the facility. However, progress with speech recognition technology – making the facility easier and more reliable – and the move from mobile browsers to apps, is set to drive voice search in 2016. Brands will need to reassess their search strategies to take advantage of the different way in which people vocalise their searches.

Trend 2 - Go native: Custom-fit content for mobile consumers

With the rise of adblocking and banners becoming increasingly ineffective on mobile, ZenithOptimedia predicts native advertising will become an increasingly important way to engage consumers. Native ads match the form and function of the editorial environment in which they appear and circumvent the increasing adoption of privacy products that strip away banner and pop- up ads. Brands will need to assess the changes they need to make to the creative process in order to make native a key part of their marketing strategy.

Trend 3 - Emojional Intelligence: Brands speak the new mobile language

Emoji – digital images or icons that express an idea or emotion – are increasingly becoming part of the language of the mobile consumer. For millennials, emoji represent the language of now and opportunity. While some people are not interpreting the characters correctly, emoji can transcend cultural and language boundaries and present brands with a new and authentic way to engage millennials.

Trend 4 - The message is the medium: Brands use instant messaging to engage consumers

As the likes of Facebook and Twitter lose their appeal with millennials and Generation Z, instant messaging apps are set to become the platform of choice as young consumers become more interested in personal relationships with selected groups of friends and family. For brands, instant messaging is about delivering experiences that are more personalised and interactive, and have a higher chance of converting a transaction.

Trend 5 – Humanising m-commerce: Personal shopping goes mainstream

While mobile presents a wealth of new digital opportunity, consumers are becoming dissatisfied with automated recommendation services and are seeking personalisation with a human touch. ZenithOptimedia expects concierge-like services to spread beyond fashion and high-end retail to new categories in 2016, democratising the personal shopping experience. Several high-street brands in Europe are introducing personal styling appointments that are free of charge and can be easily booked via the mobile web. The agency expects this combination of mobile and in-store personalisation to grow in 2016.

Trend 6 – The Mobile Wallet: The rise of a new marketing platform

The Mobile Wallet – technology enabling consumers to pay in-store for products and services with their mobile phones – will emerge as a new marketing platform in 2016. Over the past year or so a host of ‘mobile wallets’ have launched - such as Apple Pay and Android Pay – and these are set to evolve into an effective marketing platform offering both services and brand content. China is leading the way here with mobile wallets offering services related to payments, such as loyalty programmes, bill sharing and coupons.

Trend 7 – 3 is a Magic Number: 3D printing goes mainstream

ZenithOptimedia believes that 3D printing will revolutionise consumer journeys over the next two years by becoming a faster, cost-effective method of providing consumers with new options to customise products based on their own data. As the technology improves and becomes cheaper, the 3D printing market is expected to quadruple by 2020 (source: Forbes), with China leading the consumer market with annual growth of 173 per cent. For brands, the opportunity is to deliver faster and cheaper products and to provide consumers with a truly customisable brand experience.

Trend 8 – New brand spaces: Retail experiences for the mobile consumer

More brands are making use of temporary physical spaces where consumers don’t just shop, but have shopping experiences. These spaces will increasingly allow consumers to have physical interactions with brands they have discovered or interacted with via the mobile web. Using mobile, shoppers can now shop seamlessly anytime, anywhere, but this rarely gives them serendipity – pop- up spaces enable brands to provide surprise and meaningful engagement.

Trend 9 – Servicing the m-shopper: Deliveries go round the clock

Online shoppers are now demanding faster and more convenient delivery. ZenithOptimedia believes that new technology and the rise of the sharing economy will allow brands to dispatch deliveries swiftly while fitting in with consumers’ busy schedules. For example, Norwegian start-up Nimber matches travellers with parcels through a location based algorithm, and Shutl offers local deliveries within 90 minutes, using an Uber-like approach.

Trend 10 – Mobile reality: Augmented experiences on the move

ZenithOptimedia believes virtual and augmented reality will become a mainstream consumer experience thanks to the launch of new cheaper headsets and the rise of mobile virtual reality apps. More smartphones are being designed with virtual reality in mind, and mobile devices will become the main driver of VR experiences. VR is already become an entirely new way for consumers to experience video on their smartphones. ZenithOptimedia ran the very first 360 degree video ad on Facebook in the UK for Nestle.

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