Two hours per day. This is the time that Italians spend glued to their mobile devices. And the new “small screen” attracts half of online advertising investments for a total of 1.4 billion euros. Here is the Mobile Surfer photograph taken by the B2C Strategy Mobile Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with Doxa.
Over 32 million Italians use mobile devices (Smartphones and Tablets) every month to connect to the Internet, equal to 82% of the online population. Moreover, as many as 41% of these individuals only surf the internet using the mobile. Advertising via mobile exceeds € 1.4 billion and weighted almost half (47%) of online advertising investments and 17% of total media (TV, press, radio, Internet). These are some of the evidences emerged from the B2C Strategy Mobile Observatory of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano*, which aims to photograph the state of adoption and the degree of strategic maturity in the use of Mobile in managing the relationship with the own consumers by Italian companies. «Mobile is no longer a “fashion” for Italian companies, which demonstrate a growing maturity in using this channel to support their communication, marketing, sales and customer care strategies», says Raffaello Balocco, Scientific Director of the Observatory Mobile B2c Strategy of the Politecnico di Milano, «Mobile is the key to closing the circle between the digital and physical world: it allows, for example, to intercept the user near a store, to use applications that improve the in-store experience, to provide data to support planning on traditional advertising media such as billboards. For this reason, thanks to the exploitation of the multiple types of data present on the market and to the opportunity of geo-location, in 2018 investments grew with drive to store objectives and widespread models for measuring the impact of advertising and promotional campaigns on the physical point of sale (or interest)».
TWO HOURS A DAY – According to Comscore, over 32 million Italians use mobile devices (Smartphones and Tablets) every month to connect to the Internet, equal to 82% of the online population. Furthermore, as many as 41% of these individuals only surf from Mobile. Altogether the Mobile surfers spend 60 hours a month (therefore about 2 hours a day) connected to the Internet by mobile devices, equal to 75% of the time spent online. According to the survey carried out by the Observatory in collaboration with Doxa, for 43% of Mobile Surfers (i.e. Smartphone surfers) the Smartphone has already replaced or is replacing the PC for many activities, in particular, as regards the use of private purpose (while the PC remains dominant in the workplace). With regard to the activities carried out by Mobile, the percentage of users using the Smartphone in all the categories analyzed is increasing (such as reading and writing emails, using Social Networks, video content, etc.); noteworthy is the increase of 10 percentage points in the use of Applications of companies of which you are a customer (declared by 58% of Mobile Surfers compared to 48% a year ago). Instead, as far as purchases are concerned, the PC remains dominant: only 17% of Mobile Surfers in fact claims to make online purchases mainly from smartphones. The figures of Mobile Commerce (i.e. B2C eCommerce from Smartphones) still grow significantly: in 2018 in Italy were exceeded the 8.4 billion euros, with an increase of 40% compared to 2017. Online purchases generated through this device thus constitutes 31% of total eCommerce (it was 25% in 2017 and 4% in 2013).
FOCUS ON MOBILE ADVERTISING – «In 2018 the Mobile Advertising market in Italy was still growing significantly (+ 28%), reaching a value of just over 1.4 billion euro and reaching almost half (47%) of the investments of Internet Advertising and 17% of the total means» states Marta Valsecchi, Director of the Mobile Observatory B2C Strategy. «All the main categories of players in the supply chain register a positive trend, but as much as 95% of the growth is linked to the Over the Top (OTT): in fact, it is a highly concentrated market (these giants hold 83% of the market, a still higher share than the one of the total Internet Advertsing which is equal to 75%)». In terms of formats, trends are in line with what is happening on the digital advertising market: the Display Advertising component (videos excluded) is predominant, accounting for 39% of the market (+ 19% compared to 2017): within this slice grows, even if in a marginal way in absolute terms, the Native Advertising, thanks to the characteristic of the formats to be less invasive in the eyes of the user and to obtain in some cases even better performances than the desktop. The Video format grows with a higher rate than the digital world (+ 40%) and for the third consecutive year it is among the formats with the greatest increase, amounting to the 34% of the market: within this typology, is growing both the part of in-stream video (i.e. advertising space within a video content) and that of out-stream video (entirely advertising videos not contained in another video). These formats are particularly appreciated by companies for their ability to obtain a greater user engagement than others, especially if developed with creativities suitable for navigation from Mobile. The Search grows almost in line with the market (+ 25%) and maintains the same weight as last year (22%). Finally, investments in Classifieds (that worth 4% of the market) and in Sms Advertising (1% of the market) continue to have marginal shares in the total market. One of the most interesting innovations of 2018 is the growth of investments in particular on the App formats, thanks to the possibility of exploiting the wide availability of specific data of this tool to over-profile users. An example is investments with drive-to-store objectives (that is, to lead the user to a point of sale or interest). It is also important to note the increase in plans only for Mobile when aiming at certain targets (especially the very young) by exploiting dedicated creativities and specific channels.
ALL MOBILE ASSETS – The Assets through which to deliver the different Mobile marketing, sales and customer care initiatives are mainly three: Mobile Browsing, App (which also includes Mobile Wallet) and Messaging. In the course of the research, was carried out a mapping and analysis of the mobile apps offered to consumers by the main Italian companies for turnover in 14 different sectors (or “incumbents”) and the most relevant digital players in the same industry (or “digital”). On average, each incumbent company offers 3.7 App users on Play Store. If we consider the only realities that had also been included in the same census carried out at the end of 2017, we can see a slight reduction in the average number of Apps for each (4.3 compared to 5 last year) and therefore a positive tendency to rationalize the own presence on the Stores through the elimination of those dated and not updated for some time. The main channels  that influence the discovery of an App by Mobile Surfers are: store research (13%), advice from friends and relatives (10%) and the website (7%). Advertising on traditional channels, which is marginal in terms of percentage weight (3%), is however the tool that records the highest growth rate compared to 2017 (+ 45%). Following the App download, the challenge for companies is user retention. From the Survey on Mobile Surfers emerges, in fact, that compared to an average number of Apps owned by each user equal to 22, those actually used are 12; this number drops to 9 if we consider the apps used in the last month and 4.5 those used on the last day. Usability must also be kept under control by the companies: it is, in fact, a factor that affects the rating of the Applications and, moreover, 44% of the Mobile Surfers declare to have to switched to an App of different brands due to usability problems.
MAKE WAY FOR VOCAL ASSISTANTS – «The use of voice assistants from smartphones is an important new trend. It is, in fact, arousing a great deal of interest, both among consumers and between companies in terms of marketing and service: almost half of Mobile Surfers already declare that they normally use voice commands» states Antonio Filoni, Head of Digital Offering at Doxa. «Over a third (34%) also express an interest in chatbots to improve the relationship with brands, in particular for the possibility of receiving answers to questions and real-time support, at any time of the day. In contrast, the main barrier to use is the perception of little involvement in an automated chat». Another important trend regards biometrics solutions (fingerprint and facial recognition) to support payments and user authentication in accessing services, with benefits in terms of convenience and speed: 42% of Mobile Surfers use these features to access the Mobile App that allow, in particular applications in the areas of Finance, Wallet and eCommerce. Among these, two thirds always or often use it as a means of access, and more than half considers it more secure than the password and other systems. In contrast, Mobile Surfers are skeptical of augmented reality. As many as 45% of them have never used these features and 25% do not even know what they are talking about. On at least one occasion, Mobile Surfers used chatbots for: tourism and art, gaming and entertainment, clothing and accessories. Finally, 2018 was the year of the pre-commercial experimentation of Telcos on the new 5G networks, touching on the most varied application fields, including the support for the digitalisation of the production chain for Industry 4.0, the design of new communication services in the sector of health care, the development of solutions that involve augmented reality for the enhancement of the naturalistic, artistic and cultural heritage.
* The 2018/2019 edition of the B2C Strategy Mobile Observatory is implemented with the support of: AdKaora, AppQuality, Beintoo, Doxa, Hic Mobile, Kaleyra, Ogury, RTI Business Digital, Stocard, Synesthesia, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions; Comscore, Enel, GS1 Italy, JoinTag, Posytron, Rai / Rai Pubblicità, rdcom.it.