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Mobile Computing: The Star of 2012 Retrospectives and 2013 Predictions

By Richard Fouts | December 05, 2012 | 3 Comments


This is a guest post from Jake Sorofman, our newest analyst at Gartner for Marketing Leaders.  Jake’s many talents include marketing management (he was the CMO at rPath), product and market strategy, communications and digital marketing. 


The waning weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the high season for merchants—of both product and opinion. For retailers, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are holiday spirit in full tilt. But for the industry watchers among us, holiday tidings are found in our round-ups, retrospectives and predictions.

On Monday, stock-picker turned venture capitalist Mary Meeker presented her annual “Internet Trends Year-End Report,” which highlights mobile computing as the heat source that’s catalyzing global Internet adoption. You can see the complete version of her report here.

According to Meeker, while iPod redefined an entire industry and iPhone ramped even faster, iPad is a fiery comet hurdling through the sky, eclipsing iPhone adoption rates by 3X.

Why? Plenty can be said about smart branding, product design and a vibrant ecosystem. But what’s perhaps less obvious is the way the tablet has quickly insinuated itself into our lives as the so-called “second screen,” which provides plenty of value in and of itself, but even more value when used in conjunction with other media. According to Nielsen, 45% of US tablet owners use their devices at least once a day in concert with TV. This secondary benefit has become a primary use case, creating tremendous opportunities for marketers looking to bridge the gap between diverse and heretofore disconnected media to create integrated, ensemble brand experiences and commerce opportunities.

Speaking of mobile commerce, Meeker reports that 24% of Black Friday retail spending was rung in via tablets and other mobile devices. It’s a strong indicator that mobile commerce is off to the races, which should put even the scrooges among us in the most festive of holiday spirit.

My prediction? Mobile commerce will be one of next year’s bright and shining stars. Look for substantial thinking on this topic as part of our 2013 research agenda, where we’ll help marketers understand how to bridge the gap between diverse online and offline experiences using mobility as the connective tissue.

In the meantime, as the clock runs down on 2012, usher in the holiday spirit with an appetite for and heaping helpings of your own opinion on what the future holds. After all, it’s part of our holiday tradition.

Jake Sorofman, Research Director, Gartner for Marketing Leaders

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