Eventually all businesses will need to go mobile, and the sooner they join the bandwagon the better. With that said, a mobile-optimized website is more important for certain types of businesses. Let's look to the data to find out who really needs a mobile-optimized website.
(Credit: Flickr user pasukaru76)
Internet activities performed on a smartphone
First, let's look at the different types of Internet activities people do on their smartphones. Activities like email usage, social networking, playing games, maps and music have been excluded because smartphone users prefer to use apps for this.
Most of this isn't really surprising, but it gives us a starting point. Next, let's drill down on each activity.
Look for local businesses or services
With nearly all smartphone users looking for local businesses or services, it's the most popular Internet activity performed. According to Google, 1 in 3 searches on a smartphone have local intent, while 1 in 2 Bing searches are local.
"Local intent" means Google believes the searcher's intentions are to make a purchase offline. Take for example a search for "oil change", which implies the person will drive to the business and purchase an oil change. This would be local intent, even though the search term didn't include a geographic constraint like "New York oil change." Compare that to a search for "website hosting" where it's unlikely the intention is to make an offline purchase.
Here are the local businesses and services smartphone users are searching for:
There's not doubt about it, local businesses need a mobile-optimized website.
But what exactly is a "local business"? A local business is one that provides products or services to a local geographical area. Here’s a list of the local business categories currently supported by Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo!
Help with shopping
With 79% of mobile users relying on their smartphones to help with shopping, it's changing the way people shop. According to Google, 15% of all shopping related searches now come from mobiles.
Here's how smartphones help with shopping:
We see that smartphones are used during the research and shopping stages. That's a big opportunity for retailers, and they need to be a part of it. In fact, Google's top recommendation to retailers is to get a mobile site.
Manage finances and bills
77% of mobile users manage finances and bills with their smartphone. Mobile apps are popular, but smartphone users still prefer mobile websites for personal banking.
Here are the finance related activities initiated from a smartphone:
Clearly, financial service providers and finance related sites need to be optimized for mobile.
Look for news to stay informed
If you're like me, you're checking Google News whenever you're waiting in line somewhere. Whether it's standing in line or sitting on your couch, more than half of smartphone users look for news to stay informed.
If you're in the business of getting eyeballs, shares, and inlinks for your content, then you need a mobile site.
35% of smartphone users have already purchased a product through their smartphone. Although barriers still exist, mobile shopping is becoming more popular.
Here's what people are buying on their smartphones:
Consumers are moving beyond buying digital goods like music and ringtones, and are purchasing real physical products. Surprisingly, high-touch categories like clothing and jewelry are quite popular.
For retailers, this list can provide clues to mobile usage within the various retail segments.
Make travel arrangements
24% of mobile users make travel arrangements on their smartphone. According to Orbitz and Travelocity, more than 60% of hotel bookings from mobile visitors were for the same day. On Priceline, 82% of mobile visitors will book a room within a day of arrival.
Here's a list of the travel activities initiated from a smartphone:
Smartphones come in handy for last minute bookings. Businesses catering to travelers, such as hotels, flights, and car rentals, will benefit from a mobile-optimized site.
Make dinner reservations
With 51% of people searching for restaurant information, and 20% making dinner reservations, it's a hugely popular Internet activity on smartphones. Yet, only 5% of independent restaurants have a mobile-optimized site.
Here's a look at the types of restaurants smartphone users search for:
Listen up restaurants - get a mobile website!
With change comes opportunity, and the shift to mobile is the biggest change since the Internet revolution. Some businesses can afford to wait, while others need to get on the bandwagon now.
Here's our list of businesses that need to make mobile a priority:
- Local businesses
- Retailers (and etailers)
- Financial service providers and finance related websites
- News providers, blogs and magazines
- Car rental agencies
I'd love to hear your comments.