Many apps have tapped into the narcissistic streak of Generation Y, or Generation Me. Indeed mobile web’s target market is millennials, who make up 25 percent of the US population alone, and generate massive revenues for the industry. They are responsible for the Pokémon craze. As the majority of millennial households already have children and most people have more than one mobile device – you can do the math. This demand bodes well for mobile web investors, who can concern themselves with focusing on the companies operating in this fertile space.
According to Statista’s projections, the number of social media users will hit 2.67 billion by 2018. As a result of this userbase, mobile advertising and social media marketing has been a big feature of 2016. This has caused Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) problems. It was, despite fake news, a good year for Facebook, a bad year for Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and a downright ugly year for Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO).
Facebook has gone from strength to strength. Facebook Live has created a platform for viral videos, competing against television channels and YouTube. They will hope this buries their fake news disaster that garnered headlines around the election. According to the BBC, Facebook is in crisis mode; damage control was in effect in May, when “Facebook came under heavy criticism after it was alleged that human editors working on the Trending Topics section of Facebook were removing stories that pushed a conservative or pro-Trump agenda.” Facebook released a statement saying that once a fake news “story is flagged, it can’t be made into an ad and promoted”.
Twitter has not been able to rebrand and change direction and no one will buy them. Their C-suite has been emptying out, leaving a void that is worrying investors: year-to-date stock is down 29.56 percent.
Yahoo first confirmed a data breach in September, and another in December. Investors accustomed to cyberattacks shouldn’t be unduly worried about this as it seems Verizon aren’t either, with the sale still happening.
In other news, Samsung (OTCMKTS:SSNLF) Galaxy Note 7 phones were recalled in September and October, due to catching fire. T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is the first carrier to officially kill the phone, forcing owners to trade in their devices, as they cannot be charged.
July saw the augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO run wild around the world. This was developed by Niantic, a company that used to be a division of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), until Google created its Alphabet organization. Google are profiting from app downloads and investor interest.
2017 outlook: App action
Another app available on Android and iOS is Tinder, owned by Match Group (NASDAQ:MTCH). Tinder sees increased engagement at the start of weekends “as well as following holidays like Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.” So investors can benefit from user activity early on in 2017 as more users mean more traffic and potential subscribers to Tinder Plus.
Personalized portable devices
Jonathan Badeen, chief strategy officer at Tinder, gave his 2017 predictions in Bloomberg Technology’s newsletter. He thinks that “all of our devices will be assistant-ready, so instead of a specific device being the focal point, it’s everything around us that is actually given a voice – from our coffee makers to our TVs, to the phones in our pockets”. He believes people will make purchases based on personalities, like Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Siri.
Pasquale Romano, CEO of electric vehicle charging provider ChargePoint, offered his thoughts to Bloomberg Technology. “2017 is set to be one of the most significant years in automotive tech as more new in-vehicle innovations make their way”. Garmin’s (NASDAQ:GRMN) personal navigation devices for the automotive and aviation industries have customizable voice commands and also customized smart notifications. Drivers can sync their GPS with their smartphone to receive messages. For avionics, The FAA have established new rules that must be adopted by April 2017 regarding radar requirements. Garmin’s radar solution is GRA 55, perfect for helicopter pilots looking to abide by these regulations.
Wearables, the futuristic fashion statement, have so far found success mostly as fitness accessories, like Fitbit (NYSE:FIT). This is a physical item and can be downloaded as an app. Garmin are also a market leader in wearables and have a host of complimentary apps. App Annie “forecast that gross mobile ad spend, including ad store spend and advertising spend, will hit $166 billion in 2017.” There will be wearable technology launches in 2017 and certainly a range of new apps to partner them, just what app investors will want to hear.
Mobile web has many offshoots. We are truly entering the age of portables, wearables and apps. As social media usage continues to grow, everything will become more connected and effective on the move. Investors can go with the flow and wait to see what establishes itself best in 2017, or hit the ground running by investing in mobile web technologies.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Emma Harwood, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.