Mary Meeker: Mobile Is Exploding

In her annual presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Morgan-Stanley analyst Mary Meeker focused on the growth potential of the mobile internet. Her presentation is embedded below, and I suggest you skip ahead to slide 28.

If you think about "reach" in terms of units produced over the last 50 years, we've gone from mainframes, to minicomputers, to PCs, to networked PCs, to smart phones. With each cycle the affordability, form-factor, and generalized utility affords greater adoption by an order of magnitude. This means that network-connected mobile devices like the iPhone, Blackberry, PSP, Kindle, TomTom, and Zune will soon be in everyone's hands. And the growth curve is much steeper than any other technology we've seen.

The other area of rapid adoption, social networking, was the topic of Mary's previous presentations. With 445 million users, YouTube is the #2 global search engine. Video is becoming an important way to deliver messages. With 390 million and 55 million users, Facebook and Twitter have had phenomenal growth with 153% and 1171% year-over-year respectively.

If your company was late to get on the e-commerce bandwagon, don't make the same mistake with mobile. The convergence of mobile and social networking will transform the retail landscape at breakneck speed, and those left behind may never catch up.

At a minimum, I suggest retailers do the following:


  • Create a Facebook group for your brand. It costs very little to seed the initial content, and updates can be part of your normal promotions process.

  • Take some of your existing e-commerce functionality, and expose it to the mobile channel. Something simple is always the store locator. Companies like Unity Mobile can expose existing web functionality as multi-platform mobile apps.

  • Stake out your brand on Twitter, YouTube, and other emerging networks. Perhaps your don't have the resources to produce content now, but at least you'll have those accounts saved for later.


Make sure you ride the wave instead of paddling upstream.


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David Dorf, Sr Director Technology Strategy for Oracle Retail, shares news and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on innovation and emerging technologies.


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