Smartphones Only, Please -- No Wires, No Cables
An increasing number of users approach connectivity not as "mobile-first," but "mobile-only."
As Pew Research Center noted in its December Home Broadband 2015 report, an increasing number of Americans are cutting all cords -- no landlines, no cable services -- at home. Today 13% of adults rely exclusively on their smartphones for online access at home, up from 8% in 2013, Pew said.
You might dismiss this trend as being indicative of a population that cannot afford paying for smartphone (cellular) and broadband services. However, I think it points to a difference in generational thinking between boomers, for example, and Millennials. The Millennial mindset is one of collaboration whereas the boomers tend to be more competitive or individualistic.
Maybe this is an overgeneralization, but the attitudes between the generations are distinct, and that translates to necessary change as the younger generations mature and gain disposable income. Today, Millennials think nothing of handing over their parents' Netflix login information to friends who can't afford their own subscriptions. This is similar behavior to what we saw with Gen-Xers who readily downloaded free music from websites that operated illegally and thus were infringing on artists' royalties.
What are possible ramifications for businesses if a sole reliance on smartphones continues to grow?
- Increased broadband costs – as broadband providers increase prices to offset lost revenues.
- Lost revenue from mobile shoppers – smartphone users won't tolerate sites that aren't mobile-friendly, which means unhappy customers and prospects for companies that don't mobility-enable their sites quickly enough -- and that translates to lost revenue
- The 'No Wi-Fi Here' syndrome – if your shop, restaurant, or other venue doesn't offer Wi-Fi, smartphone users won't want to be -- or spend money --- there
I find smartphone-only thinking and unwillingness to pay for two services for online access to be very interesting. This thinking isn't at all flawed but rather shows how this 13% is optimizing utilization of available resources.
The value for businesses that do recognize how to respond to these trends is in retaining existing customers and earning new business. Carriers can always raise the rents, but businesses can create their own destinies by making their websites mobile-friendly. Extending Wi-Fi service to customers will be key; we haven't seen the last of the cord-cutting.
Learn more about mobility trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016, March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla. View the Mobility track sessions, and register now for an entire event pass or Tuesday through Thursday conference pass to save an additional $200 off the advance rate. This special discount, available using the code NJPOST, represents a total savings of $900 off the onsite price and is now available through Friday, Jan. 15! Get even bigger savings if you register three or more attendees from your company.