Barely a year has gone by without one media outlet or another claiming that this is the year Christmas commerce finally went mobile. Ever since smartphones made the transition from sci-fi-style novelty to everyday item, analysts have been claiming that Christmas has “gone mobile”. Now, with smartphones yet more popular still, tablets reaching huge areas of the market and widespread wi-fi connectivity, this year could finally be the one that all the talking up finally comes true and that it really does become a mobile Christmas.
The main reason for this is that mobile tech is now firmly in the mainstream. Previous years had seen smartphones only adopted by the young, the rich, the tech aficionados or a combination of all three. Now, with them having been on the wider market for five years or more, smartphones have become truly mainstream.
Even those late adopters who held on for dear life to their old “feature phones” have now found them coming to the end of their lives and so are swapping them for something a little smarter. Likewise, tablets have also become a much more mainstream prospect, thanks to the variety of options permitting a machine for all budgets and requirements.
Long gone are the days when every tablet on the market would set a buyer back around the GDP of a small island nation, with some more recent models even coming in at under £100.
As the number of connected devices soared, so too did the volume of spots to access fast, wireless internet. In recent memory, Wi-Fi was something that only the most luxury hotels offered – and at a premium, too. Anyone looking to log on to the wireless network was often lumbered with a bill worked out on an hourly or daily basis.
Now, of course, free Wi-Fi has become a staple of not just hotels but bars, cafés, restaurants, sports grounds, museums, train stations and even entire shopping centres. It’s even gone so far as for customers to react with sheer incredulity if a shop or attraction does not offer free Wi-Fi.
Couple this with the burgeoning trend for ‘click and reserve’ services, customers can now log on to free Wi-Fi whilst enjoying a coffee, do the Christmas shopping without having to fight through crowds or walk the length of a high street to compare prices, then simply head out to the specific shops in order to collect the items they’ve reserved.
Electronics remain among the most popular Christmas gifts, with many hoping that Santa sends some modern tech down the chimney. As such, it won’t just be the run up to Christmas where shoppers take to their mobiles but thereafter as well. With new devices to play with and January sales starting online on Christmas morning, the mcommerce option is certainly not one that’s limited to November and December.
These, of course, may just be reasons to justify the claim that this year is finally a truly mobile Christmas, but with all this tech proving ever more popular, the suggestion is certainly getting harder and harder to deny.