11 March 2015
Do you know where your emerging markets are? No, we don’t mean geographically. We’re talking about channels. And when it comes to preferred channels, emerging markets love mobile.
Not only are international customers buying goods and services on their phones, they’re shopping more than we are! The growth rate of m-commerce (mobile ecommerce) is even greater in emerging markets than in the US, an important fact to consider if you’re planning on selling to those regions.
M-Commerce in Emerging Markets
According to a study by Havas Worldwide, while 16 percent of online consumers in the US have made a purchase on their smartphones, that number jumps to 50 percent for China, 48 percent for Singapore, and 42 percent for India. Just to rewind a bit, 16 percent is nothing to scoff at for smartphone purchases. That doesn’t take into account other m-commerce activities along the funnel, such as research and price comparisons, and it doesn’t consider tablets. But the sheer numbers of mobile shoppers in emerging markets (50% in China!) is a force to be reckoned for companies looking to expand their business.
Mobile Adoption: Earlier, Faster in Emerging Markets
One of the reasons for these high percentages of mobile shoppers is that many emerging markets lack the infrastructure for widespread broadband connections. For these regions, smartphones provide a much more affordable and easier way to access the web. Nielsen reports that while mobile phone penetration is similar to standard Internet access, rising with per capita GDP, mobile is adopted much earlier and faster.
For example, several more developed economies share around a $20,000 per capita GDP threshold for mobile adoption. For middle income countries, like Russia or Saudi Arabia, however, mobile penetration exceeds 50% with a per capita GDP as low as $5,000. What this means is that mobile becomes the preferred means of internet access, and for any eBusiness looking to sell to emerging markets, optimizing for m-commerce is a top priority.
Customers are Comfortable Buying Mobile.
Of the global customers polled in the Havas Worldwide study, 34% said they were comfortable making purchases from their smartphones. It’s very likely that this number will only go up. Why? Because of what we call “emerging customers.” The younger generation, the one that grew up with smartphones instead of landlines, is more apt to take to m-commerce both from a technical and a philosophical level. The study backs this up, reporting that 42% of millenials were comfortable shopping from their phones, which is higher than the global average.
Are Marketers Falling Behind?
In a survey of marketers (majority B2B), Chief Marketer suggests that mobile efforts may be falling behind. 68% of marketers dedicated less than 10% of their marketing budgets towards mobile. Only 40% of the respondents had optimized their landing pages for mobile. And worse, only 26% were involved in selling directly via m-commerce. These are worrisome numbers if these companies had any plans to branch out to emerging markets.
Optimize for More Customers, New Customers.
Looking at the above numbers, it’s clear that if you optimize your website (including your product catalog, images, videos, and other content) for mobile consumption, you’re a step ahead of your competitors. While other marketers take a snail’s pace to adapt to mobile, optimization brings your company into the future of m-commerce. A future of emerging markets and emerging customers.