As a recent convert to a smartphone I’m still what some might consider a traditional user in the sense that I primarily search the web, send text messages, and believe it or not, make phone calls. In fact, the folks at Forrester Research were kind enough to craft a label for people like me, and have affectionately dubbed 2011 the year of the “dumb” smartphone user.
While it’s probably true there’s a demographic of people out there who will struggle technologically with the switch to a smartphone, it’s obvious that the competing platforms and industry subsidies will only open the floodgates to a new kind of user who up to this point hasn’t been able to afford a slick, new device. So, I admonish the mark of “dumb” smartphone user, not because it hurts my feelings, but because young (not me), tech savvy consumers who are inundating the market find a device like the smartphone intuitive and instinctual to operate. Perhaps year of the, “financially strapped” smartphone user is a more appropriate moniker.
Despite how we identify this category, consumers are expected to spend billions of dollars this year using their handheld devices, and that’s great news for any ecommerce retailer who plans on implementing or growing a mobile marketing strategy. This trend also provides some valuable insight into why marketers are expected to pump more than $1billion into their efforts in 2011. Naysayers of the movement need simply observe the momentum of ecommerce industry leaders to identify that a viable market exists already. To help provide some context, consider the fact that eBay generated nearly $2 billion in mobile sales last year.
At the end of 2010 there were already more than 60 million people who owned smartphones in the US. Since I believe the “dumb” smartphone users will have no difficulty bucking the trend of the assumed learning curve, this may very well be the breakout year for the next tier of enterpirse ecommerce retailers to pursue fresh, innovative marketing approaches, and successfully build out their brand to mobile users.
Although I love the cool factor that came with my smartphone purchase, and I really enjoyed the three week fetish with Angry Birds, what’s really change my life is the continual Internet connection I have in my hands. It’s that kind of perpetual integration to a device that immediately makes me a more reachable target for enterprise ecommerce mobile marketers–regardless of whether or not I know how to use all the features on my new phone.
Jared Matkin is a staff writer for HotWax Media with a background in PR, Branding and Marketing. He’s also a light-hearted and an opinionated character who will join other HotWax Media employees and advisers in periodically posting his thoughts on topics ranging from enterprise eCommerce to business and technology.