The UK telecoms industry regulator Ofcom reports that smartphone usage in the UK reached 58% in December 2012, making the year one of the strongest for the mobile marketing channel with so many consumers using smartphones to access websites, download apps, and access their email, but 2013 has even more mobile surprises in store, according to Chris Bull, CEO for Selective Media. This article is copyright 2013 The Best Customer Guide.

With the United Kingdom taking a strong lead among international markets in terms of mobile device adoption and usage, there are many opportunities for mobile marketers in 2013 and beyond. Consequently, Selective Media has identified five key mobile trends that are likely to change the landscape in the near term:

  1. Mobile on the go
    In 2012, Londoners saw Wi-Fi come to the Tube, thanks to TFL's deal with Virgin Media to equip the city's network of Tube stations with access to free wireless internet during London 2012. As wireless providers compete and vie for customer loyalty in 2013, we will see more networks providing flexible, reliable internet access in public areas for mobile users, and as a result, people will increasingly use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets whilst on the go, for search, email and social networks to access real-time information.
  2. #SoLoMo
    Yes, that's right - it's short for 'Social, Local, Mobile'. SoLoMo is a new phrase that hit Britain at the end of 2012 to describe an intersection of mobile device usage, social media, and location-aware technology used by retailers for advertising and marketing. As our mobile devices now go with us everywhere we go, SoLoMo offers opportunities to retailers and marketers to reach consumers in a way that is personalised, contextual and instantaneous. Marketers and consumers equally have something to gain from this new trend.
  3. Big data
    2013 is set to be another year of 'big data'. It is certainly one of the top trends of 2012, and shows no signs of letting up as the increase in mobile adoption generates yet more new sources of data. This data is useful for marketers and advertisers in their quest to better serve customers and provide tailored recommendations; however, it is important for marketers to be able to streamline these data channels and enact an effective method of coping with the volume of this data smartly, so that it is useful, not overwhelming. Creating a strategy around big data will be a key consideration for marketers in 2013.
  4. Living in the clouds
    The personal cloud is not a new topic, but it is one that is increasingly gaining traction amongst consumers and businesses alike. In 2013, we will see cloud come to the forefront of our digital lives, as it is used to access documents, apps, and content of all types. This will result in devices being seen as less relevant, and service all the more important, as cloud continues to impact how we live, work, and consume content.
  5. Your phone, your wallet
    M-commerce and NFC (near-field communications) are two trends already affecting mobile payments, and we can expect to see these develop even further in 2013 and beyond. In 2012 we saw mobile payments go mainstream with Visa's London 2012 advertising campaign showcasing contactless payments using an NFC-enabled mobile device. Similarly, there's been an increase in mobile commerce (m-commerce), with an estimated 16% of consumers saying they would shop using their mobiles during the Christmas and New Year shopping season.

"As retailers optimise their online offerings for mobile payments, and as more handset manufacturers begin to roll out NFC-enabled devices, we will see an uptake in consumers using their mobile devices to not only search for information about products, but to make payments with their devices, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores," concluded Bull.