Are People Ready For the Changes That Mobile Search Will Bring?

Are People Ready For the Changes That Mobile Search Will Bring?

Are People Ready For the Changes That Mobile Search Will Bring?


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Home Page > Advertising > PPC Advertising > Are People Ready For the Changes That Mobile Search Will Bring?

Are People Ready For the Changes That Mobile Search Will Bring?

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Posted: Aug 14, 2009 |Comments: 0
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Things are changing in the search environment

It is quite obvious that things are changing in the search environment and the pace of evolution is quickening. From the consumer’s perspective the growth in the use of handsets and netbooks, in particular, is changing the way searches are done every day.

The general perception is that mobile searches are quicker than desktop ones. They provide on-the-go use, whilst desktop search is considered more secure. Mobile search is also changing from a paid search perspective. The decision making process is being shortened, and a decisions are being taken and evaluated in an ever-shorter period of time.

In addition, desktop searchers are becoming more experienced, and more skilled navigators of the Internet. Conversely, in mobile search, consumers are still a long distance from maturity and are currently in the process of learning and adapting to new techniques and technologies offered by new search tools and fancy handsets that have been recently launched in the market.

Therefore, mobile search is more considered a tool that allows consumers to “get information”, while on the contrary desktop search is perceived to be a method to “get stuff”, and therefore is bound to more high-value user experiences. In the future we can anticipate desktop search to decrease in number but to increase in quality of queries.

Desktop searches versus Mobile searches

The point is if mobile search will truly overtake desktop. Google’s CEO has recently forecasted that mobile search will overtake paid search – although he did not confirm exactly when this would happen. He said mobile search revenues would overtake those on a PC within a few years, “not decades”, driven by new technologies and the falling prices of smartphones. Besides this, it was predicted in 2008 that Google would make .31 billion in mobile advertising revenues during 2009.This, however, seems premature and excessively buoyant as they are positives and negatives to judge.

On a positive note, broadband penetration in the UK rose 95% among active internet users in December 2008 according to the ONS. The UK is leading the broadband revolution in Europe, and is predicted by EITO to become the largest single market in Europe with above average rates of growth. In addition, UK consumers receive an average broadband speed of 3.6 Mbits per second according to survey conducted by Ofcom which is far better than the average of other European countries. For all these reasons, the UK is well set technologically to develop and increase the number of searches through desktop and mobile.

Traditional computers in decline, netbooks on the rise

If we have a detailed look to what is happening in the hardware industry, the reading is shocking. It envisages a dramatic industry change as sales of traditional computers and laptops experience their sharpest unit decline in history. It is forecasted that PC shipments will total just 257 million units in 2009, an 11.9% decline from 2008, according to Gartner.

This trend is bucked somewhat by the rise of the netbook. Netbooks accounted for 30% of consumer portable sales in EMEA according to IDC – showing how the category is gaining popularity as consumers can enjoy on-the-go use. Only during Christmas shipments in the same region reached 3.6 million units accounting for 20% of the region portable shipments. It is worth highlighting that the increasing sales of netbook guarantee that there will be an adoption of non-Windows operating systems. As a result, netbooks are dictating an increasing fragmentation of the market akin to what it is happening in the mobile industry.

It is interesting to analyze the reason why netbooks which have been in the market for many years before the sudden drop in price by manufacturers made them actually affordable. The answer is very simple; they see clear threats to their territory from the mobile industry. On top, computer sales look unsettled as large technology companies such as IBM, Google or Intel are also planning to promote clouding computing which also will help to reduce in the future overall hardware sales although this will not affect desktop search.

Smartphone rapidly expanding

Another key factor that is helping mobile search to gain ground is that despite of the global mobile phone market which is expected to shrink 9% in 2009, the largest drop since 2001, down from 1.18 billion sold in 2008, smartphones are the fastest growing segment in the market, with 10 million iPhones sold in 2008. Furthermore, iPhone applications have increased by more than 400% in less than half year (75% of which are paid) and there have already been 300 million downloads during the same period.

With this rapid mobile development, leading companies are fighting for search dominance for mobile. Net Applications figures highlight Apple’s domination of the market, with a 66% share of mobile browsing while android after all the investment since launch in September have only reached 6.26% and Blackberry is on 2.24%. This information sheds light on the search mobile dominance, again a space largely ruled by Google. Nonetheless, there are some signs of hope as mobile search appears to be more open to other, smaller companies. One good example is Abphone, the ad-sponsored search service specialised in entertainment and multimedia which has become the first search engine to be referenced by the three major French mobile operators: Orange, SFR and Bouygues Telecom in France. Is for this reason that mobile search will lead to a more fragmented market at the beginning which will be followed by saturation before it ends with a consolidation process – a similar process that desktop search experienced about a decade before. In this sense, it is also important to highlight that both mobile operators and portals will not easily cede search to web search engines

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