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Trends for 2016: Six Predictions for What Will Happen

Mobile will continue to make an impact

December 14, 2015 | Retail & Ecommerce | Mobile

Many digital advancements will be made in 2016, from the rise of mobile messaging apps to mobile commerce finally gaining some mojo. Here are eMarketer’s predictions for what will happen next year.

US Proximity Mobile Payment Forecast, 2014-2019

The Voice Of the Consumer Will Be Heard

Smartphone use is driving up the number of inbound calls to businesses. Voice-activated search has been rising steadily. Consumers are talking to personal assistants through their smartphones and cars, and those “assistants” are getting smarter. And with the rise of smart watches and connected home devices, they’re talking to a wider variety of devices from various locations.

Marketers need to be prepared and ready to optimize digital content for speech-based (not keyword) queries and learn how to make sure that content can be discovered by personal assistants.

Marketers Will Join the Conversation (in Messaging Apps)

It’s tempting to say 2016 will be the year of mobile messaging ... but that would be hype. Still, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are both well on the way toward having 1 billion monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide.

Top 5 Instant Messaging/Chat Apps Among US Internet Users, July 2015 (% of respondents)

In 2016, Facebook will add more services and marketing opportunities for brands in both Messenger and WhatsApp. Based on what other messaging apps are doing and what the company has said about advertising in its messaging apps, the offerings Facebook will bring to the table won’t be traditional marketing or advertising opportunities.

Mobile Payments Will Take Off

Despite the ascent of ecommerce and mcommerce over the past decade, trillions of dollars are transacted annually in the US at brick-and-mortar retailers—a reality that isn’t going away anytime soon, if ever. But the divide between digital and physical commerce will be further bridged in 2016, as mobile wallets become a standard feature on newer smartphones and more retailers accept proximity payments from systems like Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and others.

But simply swapping cash and credit or debit cards with a tap or scan of a smartphone won’t be enough to convince the majority of consumers to change decades of ingrained payment behavior. Connecting more of the retail commerce experience to mobile wallets, especially when it comes to offers, coupons, rewards and loyalty, will be critical to getting more people to pay with their phones.

Mobile Commerce Will Move Down the Funnel

Right now, mobile is seen as more of an influencer in the retail funnel, with mobile transactions making up only a tiny portion of overall sales. eMarketer estimates that only 1.6% of total retail sales in the US will have occurred on mobile devices in 2015.

That’s going to change in 2016, thanks to moves by the biggest digital companies—Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon—to simplify the transition from mobile shopping to mobile buying.

Reasons for Sharing Data with Companies According to US Internet Users, May 2015 (% of respondents)

Millennials and Centennials Will Be OK With Releasing Even More Data

As more connected devices come online as part of the internet of things (IoT), and as overall connectivity between people and things increases, more people—and especially younger ones—will give up increasingly more of their personal data to marketers and publishers.

They might not admit they do it, and they might not be happy about it, but at this point consumers are hooked on the convenience and value of the connected world.

Facebook Will Become Nearly Entirely Mobile

Remember when everyone thought Facebook couldn’t make money off of mobile? In Q3 2015, 78% of its $4.3 billion in ad revenue worldwide came from mobile. As big as that figure is, though, it’s time to pay attention to another Facebook mobile stat: just how many of its users access Facebook only via a mobile device.

In Q3 2015, 727 million of Facebook’s 1.55 billion MAUs were mobile-only, equivalent to 47% of users who have never interacted with Facebook on a desktop computer. During the same period in 2014, just 34% were mobile-only.



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