eMarketer recently released its Key Digital Trends for 2014 research report with a strong focus on mobile, always-on consumers and what this means for marketers. The full report can be downloaded here (registration required), but here’s a quick summary.

1. Mobile

According to eMarketer’s estimates, the amount of time spent daily by US adults with smartphones and tablets exceeded that spent with PCs for the first time in 2013, albeit by only 2 minutes. And whilst growth rates for time spent on internet activities on desktop and laptop computers have seen little change since 2010, smartphone and tablet time looks set to accelerate further in 2014.


Summary: Mobile is no longer optional.

2. Instant Interaction

The always-on consumer requires always-on marketing, raising expectations about the speed at which brands will respond to query and criticism. Consumers expect instant interactions via their preferred channels, whether that’s a special offer, and answer to a customer service enquiry, or the processing and delivery of products purchased online. Automated, real-time bidding (RTB) provides one solution, as does effectively applying insight from big data.


Summary: Real-time engagement and better integration of digital with overall marketing activity are two of the bigger challenges that marketers will face this year.

3. mCommerce

The growth in mobile usage and ubiquitous connectivity means that consumers are “always in the consideration phase for something and rarely more than a tap away from jumping from a physical store to a virtual store, or from one online merchant to another.” Mobile commerce – or mcommerce – will account for an estimated 24% of all retail ecommerce sales in the UK alone in 2014, rising to 35% in 2017.


Summary: Marketers should be investing time and money to ensure their mcommerce propositions are as good as, if not better than, their existing ecommerce platforms.

4. Always Social

According to eMarketer, social networking appears to be “the glue that binds together the experience of multiple device usage” in an always-on world. The firm predicts that 2014 will be the year that marketers begin to use social channels to engage effectively with consumers who are constantly moving from screen to screen.


Summary: If marketers want to connect with consumers where and how they spend their time, they must move from digital marketing to marketing in a digital world.