The holiday shopping numbers have been analyzed and crunched, and the verdict is in: consumers went crazy for one big category of tech gadgets: smartphones, tablets, and eReaders. Sure, you could make a case that these are in fact rather different groups – but when you think from a consumer’s point of view, they all do essentially the same thing: hook you up with information that’s not on paper. Smartphones allow you to actually talk to a person should you desire – but ask any teenager, and text messaging and Facebook are the main communication uses for a phone. Actual talking is mostly for staying in touch with grandma and grandpa.
A just-released Pew Internet Research study
stated that the percentage of adults who own a tablet PC or e-reader nearly doubled during the 2011 holiday season
. According to the survey, 19% of adults said they owned a tablet as of January 2012, up from 10% in December.
E-reader (NOOK, Kindle, etc.) ownership figures increased by the same respective amounts. The poll also found 29% of Americans owned at least one of the devices in January, up from 18% last month
In addition to tablets and eReaders, smartphones have smashed through the 50% adoption point for many consumer segments.
According to a Nielsen Research study released in November 2011
, while only 43 percent of all US mobile phone subscribers own a smartphone, vast majority of those under the age of 44 now have smartphones.
In fact, 62 percent of mobile adults aged 25-34 report owning smartphones. And among those 18-24 and 35-44 years old the smartphone penetration rate is hovering near 54 percent
Given that these devices are no longer even remotely unusual or exotic, we’ll start seeing one simple but important issue that business owners must attend to, and this hits on one of my current pet peeves: MAKE SURE YOUR WEB SITE IS MOBILE-DEVICE-FRIENDLY!
Pull out your Android or iPhone, and see what your own Web site looks like – if it’s ugly or unreadable (like the example I show, which is the Web site of one of my favorite authors) – fix it. If you haven’t updated your Web site in several years, or only changed the content on rare occasions, odds are really quite good that it will look terrible. Think about it – when you’re searching for information from your phone, doesn’t it drive you nuts to find the Web site you want, only to find that it’s nearly impossible to read?
Generally, your mobile site does not need to provide 100% of the content available on your main site – you’re free to edit. Who we are, Contact Us, Directions… make your key information easy to find. And don’t use Flash – many devices can’t easily run Flash content. (Another pet peeve of mine – I really, really HATE flashy Flash site openings; it’s usually something that advertising agencies feel they can’t live without, but it drives me nuts.) Think of all those newly-minted tablet and smartphone users – and make sure their mobile device interaction with your brand is one that delights them. That’s the smartest way to go.