Tech Predictions for 2013: It’s All About Mobile
By Claire Cain Miller, NY Times, February 18, 2013
If there is one theme that will be the topic of digital business this year, it is mobile.
ComScore, which tracks Web and mobile usage, published a report about what happened in 2012, and what to expect in 2013.
It shows that the effects of a movement toward mobile are everywhere, from shopping to media to search. According to the report, “2013 could spell a very rocky economic transition,” and businesses will have to scramble to stay ahead of consumers’ changing behavior.
Here are a few interesting tidbits from the 48-page report.
The mobile transition is happening astonishingly quickly. Last year, smartphone penetration crossed 50 percent for the first time, led by Android phones. People spend 63 percent of their time online on desktop computers and 37 percent on mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, according to comScore.
As mobile continues to take share from desktop, some industries have been particularly affected, and they are seeing significant declines in desktop use of their products as a result. They are newspapers, search engines, maps, weather, comparison shopping, directories and instant messenger services.
The most visited Web sites are not so surprising: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon. Facebook continues to take up most of our time online.
But there were a few surprises from younger, smaller Web companies. Tumblr was No. 8 on the list of sites, ordered by time spent on them. And several Web sites were breakout hits last year, as measured by growth and visitor numbers: Spotify (music), Dropbox (online storage), Etsy (shopping), BuzzFeed (news), JustFab (shopping), SoundCloud (music) and BusinessInsider (news).
Search, one of the biggest and most reliable Web industries, is at a crossroads, comScore said. Even though the search market continues to be extraordinarily profitable, there is a desire for it to evolve and offer new services to users.
Here is some evidence: Searches on traditional search engines, dominated by Google, declined 3 percent last year, and the number of searches per searcher declined 7 percent. Yet searches on specialty sites, known as vertical search engines, like Amazon.com or Whitepages.com, climbed 8 percent.
In social networking, the visual Web, as comScore calls it, has transformed the landscape. Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram, all of which emphasize images, each gained more than 10 million visitors last year.
Last year was also pivotal for online video, comScore said, as viewers increasingly seek the ability to watch video when and where they want. Watching TV shows online helped last year break viewing records, especially during the Olympics.
In the United States, 75 million people a day watch online video and stream 40 billion videos a month, and viewing is driven by YouTube.