Perhaps it’s just me, but I would be willing to bet that many of us within the real estate industry are having a hard time getting over the fact that it’s really 2015. The past seven years have seen a very long road traveled for many, but yet have gone by in a flash. Mobile, largely regarded as the future seven years ago is now the reality in which we all live. Feature phones are all but a thing of the past, not only because my mother has now adopted an iPhone, Smartphone penetration (over 72% as of March 2014) within developed markets is nearing maturity. So now that we all agree we’re living in a mobile world, where do we in the real estate industry go from here?
Now that almost all of us have converted to a Smartphone, it will probably come as no surprise that all related sectors are booming; Apps, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Commerce, Social, Music. Mobile-first media companies have even proven to more valuable than some traditional media companies. For example, traditional media companies The New York Times, Gannett, Viacom and Comcast have a combined market value of only $180 Billion compared to that of mobile-first companies Millennial Media, Pandora, Twitter and Facebook which have a combined market value of over $239 Billion. The use of mobile solutions is also disrupting many other large industries such as payments, banking and health and fitness; all of which are increasing rapidly and expected to continue to grow over the next 3 years.
Impacting all of this is the interconnectivity of additional devices that are now available to consumers on such as Wearables (watches and bands), Smart TV’s and Cars. With multiple screens, all of which keep us connected constantly, we are becoming a new breed of consumer unlike any businesses have ever seen. Our expectations of what’s available to us when are increasing dramatically. In addition, we are coming to rely on the constant connectivity to shape how we make decisions. This can be seen in the daily increase in the use of Health and Fitness Apps, up 62% from December 2013 – June 2014 which help shape the eating and exercise decisions we make on a daily basis.
Consequently, the more connected we become and more we rely on the connectivity, the more information about us that’s captured and recorded. I certainly recognize why this is a scary proposition for many, but it could also prove advantageous for those who use it for good. Ultimately the constant connectivity combined with the information we can access is shaping the decisions we make and the same can hold true for real estate purchases. 2015 will see a change in the traditional real estate search, one that combines the constant connectivity with the vast amount of data available to better help shape the home buying decision of today’s consumer and while mobile will be a huge part of it, ultimately it will be driven by the demand of the consumer to have us help them shape their decision.