The Digital Mobile Consumer: Benefits and Burdens for the Consumer Companies

Yet as a company that helps large organizations around the world capitalize on this trend, we believe the most interesting mobile adoption practices to watch are not of consumers themselves, although their habits are fascinating indeed. How the world’s large consumer companies deal with customers who use their mobile devices for such chores as shopping for airline seats, checking their bank accounts, purchasing and viewing movies, and getting service for household appliances – these organizational practices are starting to paint an intriguing picture.

It’s a picture that we decided to capture in the summer of 2012 through a major TCS study: how large organizations in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America have been revamping their strategies, products and processes to win the loyalty of consumers who use mobile devices to do business with them– the so-called “digital mobile consumer.” There are multiple studies on how consumers have taken to mobile devices over the last decade, and particularly in the five years since the first Apple iPhone hit the market. But we found very little in-depth research on how companies were coping with the phenomenon, and in some cases capitalizing on it.

To be sure, the press has been writing about this. In fact, the terms “mobile technology,” “mobile strategy” (or “enterprise mobile strategy”) and “chief mobility” or “chief digital” officer have taken center stage in the realms of both business and information technology. Once the preserve of technology publications, the terms now adorn the pages of publications read by CEOs and functional heads such as Fortune, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Asian Business Daily, The Economist, the Financial Times, Asian Economic Review and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

But we wanted to go broader and deeper in exploring the topic. This report is the result of our exploration. It is based on an in-depth quantitative survey of more than 600 large companies around the world, illuminating case studies on seven major firms, and anecdotes and statistics combed through an extensive literature search.

Our findings encompass a range of issues for large consumer companies:

  • How corporations in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America compare in the way they’ve responded to the digital mobile consumer – that is, how they’ve altered products/services and processes (especially marketing, sales and customer service), and what they plan to do over the next three years.
  • The digital mobile consumer initiatives in companies located in each of the four regions of the world that we explored.
  • Analysis of what companies in 17 global industries are doing, from airlines to industrial manufacturing companies.
  • In-depth case studies on four large companies and their consumer mobility initiatives: a global tire manufacturer, Owens Corning, Geisinger Health System and Qantas.

We also grouped analyzed our survey data into two groups: companies that said there were ahead or far ahead of competitors in winning the digital mobile consumer, and companies that said they were behind or far behind. The differences between these two groups in how they answered a number of questions was revealing.

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Introduction and Key Findings
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