2017 was another transformative year for the mobile web industry as the transition from desktops to handhelds continues growing at a rapid pace.
Case in point, according to Statcounter, at the start of 2017, mobile web usage accounted for 49.6 percent compared to desktop’s 45.27 percent, with tablets making up a smaller percentage of 5.13 percent of all usage. As of November 2017, use of mobile web totaled 50.02 in comparison to desktop’s 45.68 percent and tablet’s 4.3 percent.
Overall–and with the rise of handhelds dominating usage of desktops comes the increasing popularity of mobile apps–2017 was another banner year for the mobile web industry. With that in mind, here the Investing News Network (INN) takes a look back to some of 2017’s biggest trends and what we can look forward to in 2018.
Mobile web trends 2017: Social media in focus and mobile advertising
According to data from Statista, social media users totaled roughly 2.46 billion in 2017–an increase from 2.28 billion in 2016. In terms of social media users overall, 71 percent of internet users in 2017 used some form of social media–and that number is no doubt expected to continue growing thanks to mobile devices making it easier to access social networks with mobile social apps.
Social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is still the clubhouse favorite when it comes to reach and scope, with over 1.86 billion users. Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) accumulated 330 million active users in November 2017, a Statista report shows. For perspective, at the start of 2016 Twitter had reached 310 million active users per quarter.
Early in the year, mobile-only app Snapchat officially went public under Snap (NYSE:SNAP), and has become one of the most popular messaging and photo sharing services since first launching back in 2011. As of Q3 2017, the social media app had an average of 178 million daly active users, an increase of 153 million global daily users in the same quarter from 2016.
As a result, mobile marketing trends have–once again–come to the forefront as mobile-based user experiences were made a priority.
According to Forbes, 2017 saw an increase in brands specifically relying on accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) implementing its mobile-first index. For social media giant Facebook, mobile advertising accounts for over 85 percent of its advertising revenue and grew by 57 percent year-on-year to $8.9 billion in Q3 of 2017.
Mobile web outlook 2018: Mobile apps lead the way
As we shift into 2018, next year marks the 10 year anniversary of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store and the Google Play store. Since launching nearly a decade ago, the iOS App Store has added more than two million apps, while Google Play has made more than 3.5 million apps available, according to App Annie, and those numbers are only going to continue growing.
In terms of consumer spending, the App Annie report projects that, worldwide, spending on mobile apps will increase by 30 percent to reach $110 billion next year, with gaming apps leading the way for overall spending.
On that note, some key trends to watch for when it comes to mobile apps in 2018 include:
According to an App Annie seminar called App Economy in 2018, games like Pokemon Go and social media app Snapchat were the leaders in 2017. Switching gears into 2018, the seminar stated that some of the big players in the app economy are “unveiling really big A/R initiatives” that will help push the space forward.
“We predict that in 2018, A/R will take another significant step forward towards realizing its massive potential,” App Annie states, catapulted by the foundations set by augment reality leaders like Facebook, Google and Apple, and Chinese companies like Alibaba, Baidu and Tenecent. ” These initiatives will accelerate the space by making it easier and faster for publishers to develop AR apps, while also stoking consumer interest.”
Watching video on mobile devices has also been on the rise thanks to video streaming services like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and YouTube, to name a few. Next year, App Annie states that it expects 2018 will be the “beginning of an inflection point” for the video streaming space as it relates to fragmentation.
According to App Annie, iPhone users in the US who had four or more of the top video streaming apps increased by more than 30 percent on a year-over-year basis. Leaders in the entertainment industry, such as Netflix, Apple, Google, Facebook, Snap and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) will continue expanding via investments in original content and even beginning new video streaming services.
“Overall, this space will continue to see steady growth in terms of revenue and engagement, as users continue to shift more of their viewing time towards mobile apps,” App Annie suggested.
Payments through mobile apps have been gaining traction over the last couple of years, and 2018 will be another transformative year for payment-based apps. App Annie states that they expect to see person-to-person payment apps increase transaction volume resulting in a growth of instant bank transfers and third-party payments thanks to retailers and sellers also adopting these kinds of services.
“These initiatives have been well received by users, as they will provide even greater levels of convenience,” App Annie states.
When it comes to mobile payment apps, there’s certainly no shortage of companies to choose from: Glance Technologies (CSE:GET; OTCQB:GLNNF) MOBI724 Global Solutions (CSE:MOS) and Mogo Finance Technology (TSX:MOGO) are just a few examples of companies who have made impressive strides in 2017 and will continue making traction into 2018.
Mobile web outlook 2018: Key markets to watch
It goes without saying that China will be a dominate force for app store spending in 2018. App Annie projects China’s growth will “significantly outpace” other markets in the world solely because the country is the top market for App Store consumer spending.
India and Brazil will also play integral roles in the industry’s overall growth. Compared to year-to-date through October 31, 2016, India experienced a growth of 50 percent for the same period in 2017, whereas Brazil saw a 30 percent increase.
While both countries still have a large population that don’t own smartphones, App Annie states “continued increases” in smartphones within these two markets will spark growth of time spend and lead to higher commerce spending.
Mobile web outlook 2018: Investor takeaway
In short, the mobile web is certainly ripe with investment opportunities and–as you can see–is an industry that is only going to continue growing from here on out. The mobile web industry is one of the most vast sectors, so investors can take comfort in knowing their investing opportunities certainly aren’t limited, but will instead grow and evolve well beyond what 2018 has to offer.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.