Just this morning, I watched one woman, deeply engrossed with her smartphone, walk directly into another woman who was doing the same thing. The collision was relatively minor – and so was each woman’s reaction to the event. There were some muttered apologies from each, and they went on their way. The fact they’d run right into each other was a wholly non-remarkable event. Chances are you’ve seen this scene play out in front of you – or maybe you’ve run into someone or been run into?
That’s why I was so amused to see that Antwerp, a city forever linked in our minds to fine diamonds, has recently introduced texting lanes in their sidewalks. These narrow designated areas are designed to prevent the type of collision I witnessed this morning – and they’re only one example of how mobile device use is really transforming the world we live in.
These changes have been large and small. Almost every state in the nation has been forced to address the dangerous issue of texting and driving; think about the signs and commercials you may have seen about this in your own communities. Also, as smartphone use went up, chewing gum sales plummeted; people waiting in line are too busy checking their Twitter feeds to be wooed by Dentyne.
Most relevant to us, of course, is how smartphones have affected the way we shop. 52% of respondents in a SmartInsights research paper reported that smartphones and tablets are their primary device to access the internet; this of course has motivated Google’s recent decision to prioritize mobile-friendly sites in their search results. Customers are using their smartphones to research purchases, to comparison shop and check product features & benefits while in the store, and to review their experience after the fact.
Mobile really does matter. I can’t think of one area, whether it’s in the retail sphere or the world as a whole, where smartphones and tablets haven’t had a profound impact – can you? We can’t even begin to wrap our heads around all the changes that will come with mobile technology. This is only the tip of the iceberg, with bigger, more impactful changes currently hidden from our view.