The smartphone is one of today’s most common digital devices. For business owners, being able to act on and get ahead of trends in the UK smartphone market is essential. It gives them the chance of improving their business and customer satisfaction.

Looking at the latest trends, there are two that are likely to have an impact on businesses in the UK in 2018. The first is an increase in the numbers owning and using a smartphone; the second is a rise in in-flight connectivity.

The smartphone’s future

Despite some thinking that we have seen the peak of smartphone adoption, the trend is that over the next five years that ownership and use will continue growing. In the 55-75 age group, the trend for owning and using smartphones is increasing.

The likelihood is that by the time we get to 2023, 85% of people in this age group will have a smartphone. Going forward the smartphone’s future is expected to be one of change and innovation. This will in part be driven by how we live and interact with others. Smartphone providers are now looking towards what they are calling ‘invisible innovation’. The changes will be to things like connectivity (5G for example) and functionality and happen in the background.

For business owners, the impact of innovation on the smartphone’s future will require them to keep pace. They will need to make sure that the business they deliver adapts to improvements in connectivity and technology. If they do not, they run the risk of being left behind should consumers decide to look elsewhere.

The rise in in-flight connectivity

During 2018, the expectation is that the airline industry will see a 20% increase from the previous years on passengers making in-flight connections to their smartphone.

With such an increase it will mean additional revenues for airlines. Although the technology is not new, it is in the North America markets where it has been available.

Improvements in smartphone technology and connectivity mean that 2018 is likely to see a take-up by UK airlines for in-flight connectivity. With the ability to access services on the smartphone, the plane will in a few years no longer be a place where you can travel connection free.

Going forward with more routes and new aircraft, the ability for passengers to stay connected to the world will be commonplace. All of this will rely on improvements to aircraft and new technology making in-flight connectivity possible.

For UK air travellers, the demand to stay connected while they travel is likely to rise over the next few years. Consumers may come to see this as something they expect as standard amongst their options for in-flight services. For businesses, it will be important that they identify services they can deliver via the smartphone that UK consumers will want to connect to from a plane.

Other Trends

In 2018 other trends will emerge that also have an impact on business owners. With the increased take-up of smartphones, more people are becoming worried about how often they are using the phone. In the UK over a third of all adults have expressed a worry that they may be addicted. The 18 – 24 age group is the largest age group who worry about how often they use their smartphone. Their numbers are expected to increase from 53% in 2017 to around 65%. The result is that consumers may try and limit how often they use their smartphone.

For business owners any perception that consumers worry about how often they use their phone raises issues. If people are not using their phone as much, this might lead to a reduction in revenue for the business and the services they provide. To counter this trend, business owners will need to take action. They will need to make sure that the services they provide are not just relevant to the needs of their customers, but also efficient. If consumers can still connect, but reduce the time they take, then they will continue and not worry about how much they use their smartphone.

What Next?

If the trends expected to emerge in 2018 are anything to go by, the smartphone has yet to reach its full potential. They will continue to be around for many more years. For those growing up with smartphones, their use is only going to grow amongst the older generations. For the business owner, it will be essential to adapt and engage to meet the trends.

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You can read the original Deloitte report here.