MEF’s 10 mobile trends for 2014

Global mobile content and commerce community MEF has revealed its predictions for the global mobile landscape in the next year, using insights from its General Board of Directors and its third Global Mobile Consumer Survey.

1. The dawn of Mobile 3.0: The new breed of relationship super apps will displace one-off purchases – for music or video for example – with longer term subscription-based streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix. Higher value items will be purchased via the mobile device with users migrating their spending on big ticket items from online and the high street to mobile. MEF’s 2013 Global Consumer Survey shows that the high spend threshold grew to 39% in 2013 (up 8% from 2012) on items over $151 (about R1 560).

2. The conversation will move from big data to smart data: Case studies will show that 2014 is the year mainstream users will adopt advanced data analytics to create accurate, actionable insights that drive mobile content and commerce services and support fast, iterative product development in the quest to achieve maximum user engagement.

3. Second screening (not dual screening): In 2014 developed market broadcasters will embrace second screening by offering tailored companion content, targeted advertising and direct opportunities to purchase from-ad-to-phone. In growth markets, the opportunity of second phone ownership will prevail. 49% of consumers in developed markets US, UK and China along with 42% of consumers in Latin America watch TV while using mobile media. In Asia this drops to 24%, but 51% of Indonesians use two phones.

4. Trust as a critical asset: Despite revelations on commercial tracking and compromise of consumer privacy, regulators and the public will be reassured by robust industry self-regulatory initiatives and the trend for trust to be the biggest single barrier to purchase growth on mobile will reverse for the first time in three years. Apps and brands demonstrating data transparency and best practice will differentiate themselves as “trusted apps”.  MEF’s Global Consumer Survey 2013 reported that 40% of consumers see trust as the biggest single barrier, increasing from 35% in 2012 and 27% in 2011.

5. Wearable technology will create new ecosystems: Moving beyond glasses and experimentation, wearable sensor technology will support the new entry of major brand verticals into the market.  2014 will see the development of new ecosystems and mobile partnerships in wearables and will help accelerate mobile-led services such as m-health, insurance and personal safety.

6. Growth market device vendors will challenge: The market share of leaders Apple and Samsung will stay strong but decline, as device vendors from China and India – such as Xiaomi and Micromax – take an increasingly significant share worldwide.

7. Major financial players will assert themselves in the mobile arena: Cross-border mobile money services, for payments and remittances, will start to show substantial traction for the first time in 2014.

8. Mass-adoption of education and m-health apps will be driven by mobile-first markets: In 2013, 26% of educational app usage was from India followed by 25% in South Africa and 20% in Kenya according to the results of MEF’s 13-country study. In, 2014 African mobile start-ups focused on these areas will secure venture investments exceeding $100 million for the first time.

9. The Internet of things becomes a reality: Driven by Open Standards, 2014 will see the emergence of a flourishing ecosystem for the wireless Internet of things mostly controlled by the consumer through the mobile device including automotive and home automation.

10. Operators actively reclaim the consumer relationship: 2014 will see operators launch new products and services around communications, payments and identity and partner with disrupters to establish greater consumer choice and value.

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