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Tourism and Exports in Costa Rica affected by Mobile Devices and changes in Internet Marketing

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Costa Rica Export BusinessWhen laptops offered more features (such as Webcams, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi), the sales of desktops began to decline. Before netbooks could gain a significant market share, smartphones and tablets grabbed their mobile market share. The change is so rapid that it is hard to find reliable statistics. Studies performed in 2011 are now outdated. Studies made this year will be ancient history next year. However, the studies do show a trend in how we interact with the Internet. Following are a few highlights of the ever changing world of mobile devices:

  • An International Telegraphic Union study for the year 2011 shows that there are 5.9 billion global mobile cellular subscriptions, which equates to about 87% of the world population. In mid-2011, there were 1.2 billion mobile broadband subscriptions (broadband connections cover both smartphones and data cards), with 90% of the world covered by 2G, and 45% having 3G coverage. The report provides no statistics on global 4G coverage.
  • In a Google Mobile Ads blog entitled “Consumers love there smartphones. Now businesses must fall in love with mobile.”, Jason Sepro predicts that 1 billion people will use mobile devices as their primary Internet connection by the end of 2012.
  • According to the latest global statistics from Share Wales, Android holds 50.9% of the market share for mobile devices. iOS dropped to 23.7%, and Symbian has slipped 11.7% of the smartphone market. Windows Phone 7 commands only 1.9%, which is well behind RIM’s (Blackberry) 8.8%.
  • Scripd presents an infographic summary of the April 2011, Google/IPSOS report. This report shows that 77% of the mobile device users rank search engines as the most visited Web sites. 51% of the users searched for dining information. While 47% searched for shopping information. The study shows that 89% searched the the Web, because of an urgent need for information.
  • A Viacom study (reported by Endgadget) shows that the tablet has replaced the desktop and smartphone, as an alternative second TV. Out of the total time spent watching TV shows, 15% percent of the viewing occurs on tablets. When a cable company offers a streaming app, consumers are more likely to use the streaming app than the Web browser.

The growth in the number of mobile devices accessing the Internet also changes how advertising dollars are spent. The following statistics indicate how mobile devices impact on purchase decisions:

  • The Scripd infographic, see above, shows that 9 out 10 smartphone users take action as a result of their smartphone search. 53% of the users make a purchase as a result of their search.
  • A US local business search graphic at Our Mobile Planet shows 51% called the business, 47% looked up the business on a map, 52% visited the business, and 27% made an in-store purchase. Surveys for this study were made during March and July of 2011. A Pew Internet study (performed in February of 2012) shows that 74% of the smartphone users now use location-based information.
  • A study by Flurry shows that as of July 2011, apps consumed more Internet time than Web browsing on mobile devices. The two largest categories for apps were games (47%) and social networking (32%). Since the study, more social networks have released apps, and the social networking apps are vastly improved over the versions available at the time of the study.
  • According to comScore, a majority of smartphone users access travel information on their devices. Seven out of eight users researched airline / hotel prices from their smartphone. In addition users researched airline phone numbers, checked flight schedules, and checked flight status. Only 21% of the smartphone users availed themselves of smartphone check-in.
  • In an article entitled “Mobile now accounts for more of a consumer’s time than TV,” On Device Research reported that mobile devices account for 27% of a consumer’s media time, versus 22% for TV. Moreover, 76% of the mobile users plan to conduct mobile commerce (mCommerce) activities over the next year. Of those users, 42% say that mobile advertising introduced them to something new, and 14% indicated that they will make a mobile purchase as a result of the ads.

The above global statistics impact the future marketing trends of Costa Rican tourism and export businesses. For local Costa Rican businesses, the growth in mobile devices in Costa Rica offers an opportunity to increase their connection with customers, and improve their sales. Whether a person takes a picture of a QR Code, or uses the browser to search for local information, the first contact is often the Web site. Yet, the vast majority of Web sites, including those in Costa Rica, are not mobile device friendly.

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