10 Reasons Why Corporate Executives Would Want to Understand the Power of Mobile

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The other day, I was next to a younger colleague who was on her smartphone. She was telling me that she had over 100 unread messages on WhatsApp as she was in a one-hour meeting, and that her group chat members now think that ‘she had disappeared.’ As she fervently started responding back to her group chat, she managed to reply to many other group and individual chats on WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype and other messaging apps – while dealing with her emails and other in-person conversations with her colleagues. She even managed to respond to my random request that I tried to slip in to her To-Do list.

Her behavior made me think: how much digital information is processed by our digital natives colleagues each day, each hour, and each moment? When does this rapid consumption start, and when does it end?

After a little research, I am now convinced that mobile-centric world is already here and will only accelerate in the coming years. It is not only about understanding the younger generation but more about understanding the world we live in and the opportunities it presents.

Here are 10 reasons why I think corporate executives would want to understand the power of mobile:

  1. Smartphones are already winning over computers:
    On an average day, people use 80 percent smartphones (vs. 67 percent computers), 27 percent only use smartphones (vs. 14 percent only use computers), 39 percent only search on smartphones (vs. 32 percent only search on computers), and 170 mins is spent on smartphones (vs. 120 minutes on computers) (Source: Google)
  1. Where there is a smartphone, there is a person:
    50 percent of users in emerging markets will check their phone within 5 minutes of waking up. That ratio goes up to 83 percent within 30 minutes.Globally, we check our smartphones around 40 times per day on average. 14 percent of users in developing markets check their phones at least 100 times a day (vs. 6 percent of users in developed markets) (Source: Deloitte)
  1. People are on their smartphones:
    Users aged 18-24 spend 5.2 hours per day on their smartphones. Users aged 25-44 on average spend 3.5 hours on their phones. (Source: Salesforce)
  1. People will first reply to your Instant Messages before Emails:
    The first thing users access on the phone is instant messages (35-37 percent), followed by emails and social media (in developed markets), or social media and emails (in developing markets). (Source: Deloitte)
  1. People juggle devices and apps:
    57 percent use more than one type of device, and 21 percent are concurrent users. On average, in a given hour when actively using their phone, users interact with 4.8 apps: Browser Apps (Chrome, etc.), Messaging Apps (WhatsApp, etc.), Social Apps (Facebook, etc.), Email App (Gmail, etc.) (Source: Google)
  1. Apps dominate:
    90 percent of the time is spent on Apps, compared to 10 percent on browser. Out of the 90 percent, Facebook accounts for 19 percent, Entertainment 17 percent, Gaming 15 percent, and Messaging/Social 12 percent. (Source: SmartInsights)
  1. People watch videos on mobile:
    Mobile video traffic accounted for 60 percent of total mobile data traffic in 2016. Mobile video will increase 9-fold between 2016 and 2021, accounting for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2021. (Source: Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update)YouTube dominates video traffic in most mobile networks, accounting for between 40–70 percent of total video traffic for almost all measured networks (Source: Ericsson). Among users who watch YouTube, 42 percent watch only on smartphones (Source: Google)
  1. When people use smartphones to search, they buy:
    69 percent of smartphone owners turn to mobile search first in a moment of need. 79 percent of them will visit a related business if nearby. 28 percent of those searches result in a purchase. (Source: Google)
  1. People will use smartphones even more:
    Global mobile data traffic grew 63 percent in 2016. Mobile data traffic has grown 18-fold over the past 5 years. Smartphones represented only 45 percent of total mobile devices and connections in 2016, but represented 81 percent of total mobile traffic. Global mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold between 2016 and 2021. (Source: Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update)
  1. There will be many more mobile devices than people:
    Global mobile devices in 2016 grew to 8.0 billion. 429 million mobile devices were added in 2016. Smartphones accounted for most of that growth. By 2021 there will be 1.5 mobile devices per capita. Globally, 74.7 percent of mobile devices will be smart devices by 2021. (Source: Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update)

Without any doubt, we will increasingly feel the power of mobile day by day. The mobile-centric world will accelerate. Just this month, the UK Government published a report titled “Next Generation Mobile Technologies: A 5G Strategy for the UK.” 5G is still in development, and we do not know the specifics of it. However, what we know is that it will have significant impact on economy, industries and businesses. This ultrafast connectivity will support the development of the Internet of Things.

So, for corporate executives, understanding how this mobile-centric world evolves is not an option – it is a change we need to embrace, and a business opportunity that could transform how we run our businesses.


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三井幹陽:コーポレートラーニングの分野においてイノベーションを実現するCLO LABSのチーフラーニングデザイナー 。本稿のご意見、お問い合わせ等はy.mitsui@clolabs.comまで。 Yoshi Mitsui is Chief Learning Designer at CLO LABS, a learning innovation firm which focuses on making learning small, relevant and continuous for organisations. For discussion on learning topics, please get in touch with him at y.mitsui@clolabs.com.