Mobile commerce or ‘M-Commerce’ is in its infancy; destined to only get bigger and ever more sophisticated as it becomes a hub of our society. Though major cities in Canada already have a strong infrastructure for high speed wired and wireless connectivity, upgrades to boost coverage and speed continue. For instance, according to ‘Consumer Electronics in Canada’, the September 13, 2016 edition of the Research Monitor: in 2015 Telus spent a billion dollars on fiberoptic and wireless infrastructure upgrades in Vancouver while Bell Mobility spent 1.14 billion for networks in Toronto. That means those already ‘connected’ have an incentive to upgrade devices to take advantage of the new and improved infrastructure.
Consumers want more and faster network mobile coverage to consume media.
But why upgrade to newer, faster, and better devices just because the networks are faster? Is this some corporate conspiracy to get consumers to buy more? Rather, it is the reverse, that upgrades are driven by ever-increasing consumer demand for faster connection speeds on both wired and wireless networks. With the dissolution of video rental outlets, consumers turn to on-line services to stream and/or download desired films and shows. Home music libraries are abandoned in favor of music streaming services. Shopping for goods and services are now done on-line while bricks and mortar shop roles have changed from being places to seek and buy things to now become convenient locations to pick-up orders. Meanwhile, on-line sales continue to grow as consumers discover the ease and convenience. This is especially true of M-Commerce where shopping apps offer a superior user experience over web-based shopping, such as loyalty points, ease of sharing gift certificates, and access to promotions. Major entities like Apple, Google, and Mastercard now offer point-of-sale opportunities as retailers and service outlets like Starbucks use the phone as a ‘bank card’ where customers can just swipe their device.
Phones are not phones anymore. Mobile smartphones are cameras, PC’s, media streamers, e-readers…
Another incentive facilitating continued growth in mobile device consumption is the perceived value of all-in-one devices. Whereas gadgets like video/still cameras, microphones, phones, personal computers, cameras, planners, media players, e-readers, organizers were bought and used seperately, mobile phones perform all these functions. New generations of mobile phones are marketed in other ways besides just phones. A case in point is Apple, who markets the iPhone as a camera.
If you live in the boonies, you now got fast coverage. If you live in the city, your connections just got faster.
One of the previous bottlenecks of the mobile phone industry was a lack of coverage in small and rural communities. However, major network carriers like Bell Mobility and Telus, in conjunction with the government of Canada are investing in more widespread coverage with faster networks. Going back to the Euromonitor/Reasearch Monitor ‘Consumer Electronics in Canada’ industry overview, the September 13th, 2016 edition; Bell Mobility expanded their 4G LTE networks in over 120 communities accross Ontario and Quebec and 52 communities accross Atlantic Canada. Telus announced it will invest 4.5 billion in both fiber optic and wireless networks in Alberta from 2016 through to 2019. Morever, the Euromonitor reports anticipates Canada’s internet subscriptions to reach 17.1 million by 2030. As for places that already have connectivity, Rogers Wireless installed ‘LTE-Advanced’ infrastructures in 12 cities accross Canada for more seamless and rapid connectivity.
The commodities industry is expected to rebound and with it, more mobile device sales.
The main driver for mobile phone purchases are consumers for personal use while corporate purchases have lagged. This is largely due to Canada’s economy being tied in to the natural resource economy and the fall of oil and gas prices. However, with Donald Trump’s commitment to the Keystone XL pipelines and the cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry, the resource-based economy is expected to rebound. With this rebound will be anticipated surge in hiring and purchase of wireless devices for corporate use.
M-Commerce is going bigger, just follow the big money.
These macro factors, increased infrastructure investment, consumer hunger for on-line content, on-line shopping (especially via apps), increasing sophistication of mobile devices, more wireless coverage—especially in rural areas, and an anticipated rebound in the Canadian economy, expect a wave of surging growth in ‘M-Commerce’.