Peter Koeppel’s 6-Part Series on Trend Spotting: Part 3, Mobile

by Peter Koeppel on Oct 27, 2016 3:03:56 PM

Girl with Cell Phone-828055-edited.jpgAt the recent D2C convention, I presented a session entitled Trend Spotting: Benchmarking the Present and Predicting the Future of Marketing. My intention was a simple one: to synthesize the latest statistics, forecasts, and best practices in marketing from over 100 different sources to save my audience time and to provide insight that will help you today and in the future. In the third of this six-part series we take a look at mobile. Given the presentation was limited to an hour, I have had to limit my focus, but hopefully the learnings gleaned will prove helpful to the reader.

 Dialing Up the Numbers

Marketers already know that mobile is exploding, but what are the real numbers? According to comScore, the percentage of U.S. mobile subscribers who own a smartphone is 79.3%; that equals 207.2 million phones as reported by Statistica. Meanwhile eMarketer estimates that the average time spent on a mobile device in non-voice activities is 3 hours and six minutes per day. Some have surmised that the smartphone is more addictive than crack cocaine and one stat that back up this claim is Forrester’s projection that the average smartphone user looks at their screen 150 to 200 times per day representing millions of mobile moments. And as far as apps available, there are over 2.2. million choices for Android which eclipses the 2 million available for the iPhone.

Addicted to Love

Cell Phone in Bed.jpg

Indeed it would seem that our smartphones have become an extension of ourselves, as essential as a much-needed limb. Facebook research indicates that 73% of people always have their mobile device with them. According to Mashable’s report Where Are U.S. Adults Using Smartphones? the places where people are engaging with their screens include just about everywhere:

  • 55% while driving.
  • 35% in a movie theatre.
  • 33% on a dinner date.
  • 32% at a school function.
  • 19% in church/place of worship.
  • 12% in the shower.

If that weren’t obsessive enough, one out of ten admit looking at their phone during sex as reported by Time magazine. Can you imagine? “Excuse me, honey, but it’s my turn in Words with Friends.” In fact, when it comes to bedtime, 3% say they have their smartphone in their hand, 13% on the bed, and 55% on the nightstand according to a report from Bank of America entitled Trends in Consumer Mobility Report from 2015.

Amid all of this rampant usage, mobile is playing an increasingly important role in shopping. According to an online report commissioned by Facebook, 45% of all shopping journeys contain a mobile action. Of course one of the primary activities they are engaged in conducting product research. According to the same report, one in three omni-channel shoppers use their smartphone to conduct such research, and over two out of three omni-channel shoppers anticipate doing more research on their mobile phones.

Cell Phone at mall.jpgCell Phone at Grocery Store.jpg


This research includes both “showrooming” and “webrooming.” Showrooming is the behavior where people browse for something in a store and then buy it online. According to Facebook over 6 out of 10 consumers use their devices in the retail aisle. Meanwhile Nielsen reports about half of consumers engage in this behavior, and Google reports that 82% of smartphone users turn to their phones inside a store when making a purchase decision. Then there is the matter of “Webrooming” where consumers browse online, and then go to traditional brick and mortar retail to buy. Nielsen reports about 6 out of 10 consumers do this, and it no doubt explains in part why Amazon is now rolling out physical stores.

So what are the implications of all of this for a direct marketer? Certainly customer experience is crucial. When it comes to mobile marketers have to consider both context (that is, where they are and what they are doing) and content (meaning, is the mobile content optimized for a smooth and satisfying experience?) That’s why SEO and SEM are so critical in this context. The consumer has got to be able to find you and not some competitor or hateful vlogger so that you at least have a fighting chance at exercising some modicum of control over their purchase journey. Then there is the matter of price. Look at what happens when you Google the “Big Easy Grill” on a smartphone. The star ratings are awesome, but look at the disparity in price! Will a deeper dive reveal that each retailer has a different offer configuration? One would hope so!

Cell HSN & QVC Pic.pngApplication Nation

There’s a lot of talk about apps and the idea that if a marketer can get someone to download their app, they are golden because now they don’t have to market to those people anymore. In fact, Flurry reports that 90% of users spend their time in apps compared to the mobile web. On the other hand, you have to be set up for success and have an app that engages in a meaningful way. The download is just the beginning. Want proof? Check out these fast facts:

  • Over one in four apps are abandoned after first use according to Google.
  • Mobile Commerce Daily reports that nearly one in two mobile app users are unhappy with their app experience.
  • Yet according to the same source, promotions such as discounts and exclusive or bonus content are appealing as you can see from these last stats.

An example of a company that is doing an app right is L’Oreal Makeup. Their MakeUp Genius app takes an image of your face in real time, like a mirror, and uses 3D imaging technology to apply virtual makeup. The technology captures 64 different points of the face and up to 100 expressions to help the virtual makeup look realistic, and move naturally if the face moves or changes expression. App users can choose between individual products or entire curated looks to try on, scan L’Oreal product bar codes and try a shade on in-store, and even buy makeup they’re satisfied with from the app. The app also includes options for saving and then sharing your makeovers with friends on social media.

Clearly mobile is here to stay and is rapidly becoming the first screen for engagement. Savvy marketers have to manage their mobile presence carefully or risk being irrelevant. Social media is, of course, interlaced with mobile, and that’s why next week in part 4 of this blog series, we’ll explore the social media phenomenon and how marketers can leverage it.


Peter Koeppel is Founder and President of Koeppel Direct, an influential direct response media firm focused on direct response television (DRTV), online, print and radio media buying, marketing and campaign management. He can be reached at 972-732-6110 or online at or


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