BuzzCity’s latest quarterly report, released today, showcases the trends and forces in the mobile advertising industry. BuzzCity has seen tremendous growth with mobile ads served more than doubling in 2011, and year-on-year growth of 139%. More than 126 billion ads were served in 2011, compared with 52 billion in 2010.
This time last year just three countries (India, USA & Indonesia) were serving in excess of a billion ads a quarter. However, by the end of 2011 another seven countries had broken into the Billion Club – UK, South Africa, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Canada and Thailand.
BuzzCity has taken advantage of its global reach and level of traffic and surveyed consumers on their behaviour and attitudes to mobile commerce and payments.
The research showed that the industry has failed to communicate to consumers. 35% of users aren’t aware of the basic mobile transactions available.
Demographics are changing too. Although the majority of new mobile internet users globally are young males, female adoption of mobile web usage is growing globally – there are nearly as many women as men using the mobile web in the United Kingdom (49%), Thailand (43%) and South Africa (40%). These markets are followed by France, Germany, Mexico, Philippines, the United States and Saudi Arabia, where at least a third of mobile web users are female.
The proportion of mature users across the globe is growing; 15% are now over 35. The influence of this group is disproportionately high when mobile purchases are made. Over-35s made 19% of travel-related purchases, 23% of grocery purchases and 21% of household utility payments globally in the past six months.
When it comes to the type of transactions that are being made these are wide-ranging: Services to stay connected – for example payments for phone credits are high in countries where the mobile is the primary point of access to the internet – Kenya (88%), Indonesia (85%) and Vietnam (87%); Entertainment and lifestyle – items such as books, music and movies for home delivery as well as gadgets are all regularly purchased items, notable are Nigeria (31%), India (28%), UK (20%) and US (14%) all avidly buying these via their phones; Travel – consumers are keen to use their handsets to buy tickets and source hotel accommodation with growing usage in Saudi Arabia (21%), France (13%), Germany (11%), India (14%), South Africa (11%) and UK (10%).
Although these signs are very encouraging, it’s imperative that retailers provide reassurance on security, simplicity and the services available so that m-commerce continues to flourish. Globally, users remain reluctant to engage in remote transactions, with 39% preferring to pay in person, and 21% preferring to charge purchases to their phones. The biggest barrier to m-commerce remains the lack of awareness of the tools and services available (35%), and concerns regarding security (27%).
“There are three missing elements, crucial to widespread adoption of mobile commerce,” said Dr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity. “They are communication, education and security. Users are not currently aware of the services out there. When they do come across such services, these simple processes are presented in a very confusing way. Banks and retailers will need to provide their customers with clear and unambiguous assurances about security.”
The UK remains the leading European country in BuzzCity’s chart of Top 50 countries by ad impressions served, followed by Turkey and France. While growth in Eastern Europe also continues demand for these audiences are yet to be as consistent as in Western Europe.
Mobile hotspots include: UK, still dominated by BlackBerry (69%) although this is declining with growing interest in Apple devices. The strength of the market lies in the strong spread of economically active users across multiple demographics; France, which saw explosive growth of 163% this quarter, and jumped from 40th place to number 20; India, held onto its number one ranking throughout 2011, serving over 32 billion ads in the course of the year.
Dr KF Lai remarked: “The mobile industry has not only grown but matured, we are pleased to see yet more countries joining the Billion Club across our network and I have no doubt more will be joining in the near future. With more consumers gaining trust in mobile and brands taking advantage of spending power maturity the entire mobile ecosystem will benefit in coming months, ultimately paving the way for further demand for mobile and lifestyle content as well as mobile commerce offerings. 2012 looks set to be an exciting year,” he said.