App to the future – the numbers speak

Mobile phone applications (Apps) are not just about games like Angry Birds, or for kids to find out the latest Justin Beiber news. Used correctly they have already become a serious marketing and communications tool for financial companies.

Here are just a few stats to underline how much this is the case:


  • 90% of the UK population has a mobile phone
  • 28% of mobile owners use mobile phone applications
  • 40% of i-Phone and i-Pod Touch owners use their devices to access the internet more often than they use their computer to do so
  • Consultancy Burson-Marsteller says it expects smart phone sales to overtake laptops in 2012
  • The Neilson Consultancy reports 28% of those who downloaded Apps in August 2010 downloaded a banking and finance application.

This may not be the whole of the market of course, but neither are we in the space of bleeding edge technology and early adopters. If you don’t have a ‘mobile’ presence you may well be neglecting a significant and growing customer segment.

Some customers will begin to take it as read that their bank will offer them information on their mobiles and the ability to conduct some simple transactions too. Though we can’t be sure smart phones will take over from laptops or desk computers as the main route for accessing the internet, it seems likely. Currently people who access their bank account on a PC do so 6-8 times per month. Those who use their mobile access their account 18-21 times per month.
Anecdotally it is clear that the two groups driving smart phone use have been business users and the younger, social user. Short term you definitely don’t want to neglect the first group. Long term, what young (and young at heart) people are doing must inevitably become the norm.

Smart phone use grew 70 per cent last year. If that rate of take-up continues, it won’t be very long before the vast majority of the market can be reached with online communications through their phones. When customers start demanding they can run their lives in this way the game really changes for good.  Space 01 plans to use this blog this year to discuss what companies need to do to stay ahead of that game.

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