Top 5 Trends in Mobile
Date: April 20, 2016
Digital has dramatically changed the way we live, communicate and conduct commerce. The rapid rise of mobile has broadened the impact of digital and deepened our reliance on technology in everyday life.
Last year, mobile Google searches surpassed desktop Google searches in sheer volume for the very first time . Mobile had already surpassed desktop in other key categories, including ownership of devices worldwide .
The pervasiveness of mobile continues to accelerate the rate of change, creating new trends at an astonishing pace. Here are the top five trends in mobile that are changing the ways we experience the world:
1. Mobile Payment
You’ve seen signs in stores. You may have caught a few funny commercials, like this one from Samsung Pay .
You might even be using some form of mobile payment yourself, like app-enabled payments with Level Up at your local coffee shop. Whether it’s Apple Pay, Android Pay or a third party app, mobile payments are a convenient, practical extension of our use of mobile technology.
A recent Deloitte survey determined that a sizable percentage of younger Millennials, older Millennials and Gen Xers have paid for purchases with mobile. Even 10% of Baby Boomer internet users have adopted mobile as a payment method. As this eMarketer chart based on the survey shows, cell phones are by far the most common device used to make payment.
Facebook appears ready to to get in on the action through in-store mobile payment options in Messenger . Look for continued growth in mobile payments as Millennials age and earn more disposable income and retail locations update their point-of-sale technology.
When you think wearables, smart watches and fitness trackers probably come to mind. The question, “How many people actually own these things?” may quickly follow. Consider these insights on the wearables market:
- 111.1 million units of wearables will be shipped in 2016 
- More than 214 million units of wearables will be shipped in 2019 
- Wearables market estimated to be worth $25 Billion by 2019 
Individuals who wish to self-monitor their health have been typical first adopters, and health-related usage will continue to be a major driver in the growth of wearables. The healthcare industry, including doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, is eager to make the most of data generated by wearables. That data could prove invaluable in preventing or lessening the impact of a variety of diseases and conditions, from diabetes to high blood pressure to heart attacks and strokes. It’s likely that wearables will play an essential role as the healthcare industry shifts toward population health management models.
Wearables also have the potential to dramatically improve the performance variety of medical technologies, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids and prosthetics. With healthcare providing a firm financial undergirding, wearables will quickly expand into other areas of our lives as the industry seeks new markets.
“The most common type of wearables today are fairly basic, like fitness trackers, but over the next few years we expect a proliferation of form factors and device types,” said Jitesh Ubrani , Senior Research Analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers. "Smarter clothing, eyewear and even hearables (ear-worn devices) are all in their early stages of mass adoption… The next generation of wearables are on track to offer vastly improved experiences and perhaps even augment human abilities.” 
3. Virtual Reality
If you’ve never experienced virtual reality for yourself, you might wonder how it works. USA TODAY’s Theresa Chang recently interviewed PlayStation Magic Lab Director Richard Marks to break it down, providing an ideal introduction .
Making the virtual reality experience more accessible will be vital to its growth. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook points to VR becoming more social through its power to share experiences . Facebook acquired Oculus VR in 2014. Oculus has since developed mobile-compatible Gear VR headsets in partnership with Samsung.
“Pretty soon we’re going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you’re just there, right there in person.” – Mark Zuckerberg 
USA TODAY has also focused on developing content for Virtual Reality viewers, as well as all viewers, using 360-degree video to create an immersive experience that does not require a headset . The USA TODAY NETWORK will also be launching a Virtual Reality news series and site, as well as offering Virtual Reality advertising and marketing campaigns in the future .
Implications for interactive content that can provide new experiences, transform news and help businesses tell compelling stories make VR a top trend. Newer VR headsets (such as Gear VR) have the ability to function with a mobile device. That ability, combined with the proliferation of mobile responsive 360-degree video, ensure mobile will play a major role in the future of this remarkable technology.
4. Live Streaming
You’ve probably encountered at least one situation where differing interests created the need to watch different content on different screens. Recently, it’s become more common for such multi-screening to involve live streaming on mobile devices.
Live streaming itself is becoming more common. According to AYTM Market Research, 37.7% of U.S. internet users have used a live streaming service at least once, as detailed by eMarketer in the chart below.
Brands like Target are leveraging the popularity of live streaming to build brand awareness around events . Meanwhile, its use by brands in Snapchat and other social platforms is evolving so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up.
Mobile’s ability to deliver a larger volume and variety of content to more users in more places continues to grow. This makes live streaming on mobile a trend with seemingly infinite applications, and a valuable platform for content-driven advertising.
5. Connected Cars
Americans spend a lot of time in their cars. So it makes sense that tech trends would lend themselves to transforming the automobile into another mobile device. It’s fair to say that the concept of the connected-car has shifted into overdrive.
Anything you can currently do on a mobile device, you can or will soon be able to do in a car using factory-installed technology. From basic communication and roadside assistance in the event of an emergency, to GPS, Wi-Fi, streamed entertainment, social media, calls, messages, weather-tracking and more.
Some of the latest developments include a partnership between Toyota and Microsoft to create connected-car innovations , and a push by government agencies to enable vehicle to vehicle communications . Meanwhile, manufacturers like Chevrolet are using connected-car technology to reposition mid-level models as the affordable way to a high-tech, high-end feel.
Google and other major tech companies make no secret of the fact that the self-driving vehicle is the holy grail of car connectivity. Prototypes are already being tested on public roads. It’s harder to imagine a more revolutionary mobile trend.
Look for sustained growth in mobile payments, wearables, virtual reality, mobile streaming and connected cars throughout 2016 and beyond. With innovation and applications moving forward so quickly, it’s important to know what’s going on the go!
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1. “Building for the next moment,” by Jerry Dischler; Google Inside AdWords
2. “Mobile Marketing Statistics compilation,” by Dave Chaffey; Smart Insights
3. Video 1: Samsung Pay commercial
4. Table 1: “Digital democracy survey;” Deloitte
5. “Is Facebook Looking To Enter The Mobile Payments Business?” by Trefis Team; Forbes
6. “IDC Forecasts Worldwide Shipments of Wearables to Surpass 200 Million in 2019, Driven by Strong Smartwatch Growth;” IDC Analyze the Future
7. “Wearables Market to Be Worth $25 Billion by 2019;” CCS Insight
8. “How does virtual reality work?” USA Today
9. “Mark Zuckerberg: Virtual reality can become the most social platform,” Edward C. Baig; USA Today
10. “USA Today's David Callaway on gaming the news;” World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
11. “USA TODAY Network to launch VR news series this spring,” Marco della Cava; USA Today
12. Table 2: AYTM Market Research
13. “Live-stream video is at a marketing crossroads,” David Kirkpatrick; Marketing Dive
14. “Toyota teams with Microsoft on connected cars,” Nathan Bomey and Chris Woodyard; USA Today
15. “Connected Cars Market Analysis By Application And Segment Forecasts To 2022;” Hexa Research
16. Video 2: 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Commercial