According to findings from adaptive web development software solutions specialist Netbiscuits, the web is changing so rapidly that many organisations are still unprepared for the future of consumer access. The increasing number of devices hitting the market and the unrelenting fragmentation of various operating systems and profiles means it is harder than ever for brands to build consistent web experiences designed to meet the growing expectations of consumers across all devices.
Based on the Netbiscuits Platform which handles billions of mobile web and content impressions a month, the Netbiscuits Quarterly Web Trends Report proves that consumers are accessing the web through new emerging devices and technologies.
Traffic on the Netbiscuits Platform strongly indicates that there is a need for enterprises to have multi-channel strategies in place. Web traffic continues to increase, with impressions from set top boxes and TVs up by 138 per cent. This is not happening in place of tablet or smartphone uptake, which continues to see a healthy sequential growth, but in addition to the general increase in connected devices. For the first time, digital cameras have also appeared among devices being used to access mobile internet content. Consumers are demanding ‘constant connection’ on any device, highlighting both the opportunity and challenge enterprises face to meet their customer’s expectations today and into the future.
Despite still dominating in emerging markets, feature phones continued to lose traffic share, demonstrating that smarter devices capable of advanced user experiences are becoming the norm.
Android retained its overall lead in terms of web access share in January 2013 at 41 per cent, with iOS a close second at 37 per cent. However, Android’s domination means very little for brands aiming to build consistent web experiences, as the platform is fragmented. The Report reveals that compared to 2011, there were more than double the numbers of total Android device profiles in the Netbiscuits database, adding to the complexity of catering for this market segment when adopting a one-size fits all mentality.
“This evidence creates a serious challenge for brands, as more devices come in numerous different technologies, sizes and configurations. Without adopting a fully future-proofed multi-channel approach, companies risk falling behind and ultimately wasting money and losing consumers,” commented Michael Neidhoefer, CEO, Netbiscuits.
The Report also reveals that the proportion of traffic from LTE-capable smartphone devices accessing the web increased over threefold from July 2012 to January 2013 and hits from NFC capable devices increased by 146 per cent. According to Netbiscuits, the startling market penetration of advanced mobile technology such as NFC and LTE means brands not developing their mobile strategy to incorporate this functionality are in danger of disappointing their customers and losing business to competitors. The proportion of hits from smartphones capable of supporting LTE connectivity has risen from 5.4 per cent in July 2012, to 17.5 per cent by the end of January 2013, with Samsung at the forefront. Samsung also appears to lead the movement towards NFC, with over 60 per cent of NFC-capable device hits in January 2013.
“This upward trend in availability of new advanced features will lead to faster media rich web apps and new ways of connecting more than one device to another to deliver true multi-channel consumer experiences. Many enterprises are just not preparing fast enough to develop for consumer expectations. But the ones that do will have a significant competitive advantage driving brand loyalty and monetisation of users,” continued Neidhoefer.“There is much debate about when 4G and NFC will take off and when the PC will lose its place as the preferred internet gateway. We’re at the tipping point in our industry. The web is not ‘going mobile,’ it is already mobile. However this journey is fragmented rather than linear. As the range of devices people are using to access the mobile web continues to spiral, it’s absolutely crucial brands ensure they deliver an adaptive multi-channel universal web experience accessible by everyone. Those that do will thrive, those that do not will fall by the wayside as their customers look to their competitors to fulfil their needs.”
The Report’s findings suggest the tablet phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down, with sequential growth month-on-month accelerating to reach double-digit growth in January 2013. Apple tablets top the lists of dominant tablets with a 33.9 per cent share, followed by Samsung at 24.2 per cent. On device profiles, the Apple iPad iOS 6+ leads on Apple, while Android 4.0 on the Galaxy Tab 2 leads for Samsung. Android operating systems are not limited to one tablet of course, with Android 4.2 on the Nexus 7 taking third place for Asus. The fragmentation of the mobile marketplace extends far beyond smartphone and tablet screen sizes, and reveals a “staggering” amount of difference in context, capabilities and device specifications – all of which need considering when developing a robust mobile strategy.
“The web is changing rapidly and many organisations are not even prepared for today, let alone the future,” concluded Neidhoefer. “New technologies are emerging very rapidly but they are being rolled out on different devices at different rates, while variations of technology will continue to exist. Accommodating these changes in a cost effective way will require solutions from market experts, centralised web development using standards and clear engagement strategies with end-users to deliver optimised experiences for personal device choices.”