IDC: ‘Mobile first’ looks like a smart strategy

Retailers who are focusing on mobile as a means of digitally engaging customers have some solid data backing up their approach.

According to a new study from the International Data Corporation (IDC), “How the World Uses the Internet,” more than 2 billion people globally will be using mobile devices to gain access to the Internet in 2016.

In total, IDC estimates that 3.2 billion people, or 44% of the world's population, will have access to the Internet in 2016. This means close to two-thirds of global web users will be mobile in the coming year.

The total number of mobile Internet users is forecast to rise at a pace of 2% annually through 2020, unless significant new methods of gaining access to the Internet are introduced. Efforts by Google, SpaceX, and Facebook among others to make the Internet available to the world’s remaining 4 billion people via high altitude planes, balloons, and satellites are underway. However, IDC advises it remains unclear how successful these endeavors will be and when they will be operational at scale.

In good news for retailers, IDC finds that more people than ever before are making purchases online across all channels. In 2015, more than $100 billion will be spent online on each of the following categories: travel, books, CDs and DVDs, downloading apps, and online classes. According to IDC, these purchases are enabled by online payment platforms that are making payments, online and off, easier and more secure.

Furthermore, IDC data indicates that as more people are spending more time and money online, increasingly through mobile devices, advertisers are shifting their spending accordingly. Almost all of the growth in advertising spending across all of its forms is attributable to the growth in mobile advertising and online video. Advertisers are able to direct ads to users based on their preferences as indicated by online behavior, which allows them to better understand how their content is being absorbed than ads on television and radio.

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