3 questions to smart minds

Mobile Trends in Germany

For this 3 questions to T. Hackspiel

Walter Fries Corpo­rate Finance
Photo: T. Hack­spiel | Walter Fries Corpo­rate Finance
20. June 2012

Society is beco­ming incre­asingly mobile. Novel­lierte end devices — cell phones and tablets — appear at ever shorter inter­vals. Smart­phone sales in Germany are expec­ted to rise to 15.9 million units in 2012, by which time their market share will be 55 percent. Tablet sales will proba­bly reach 2.1 million units in 2012. e‑Markets are expan­ding at an enorm­ous speed and new busi­ness models are emer­ging all the time. Which m‑commerce models are in vogue? What tech­no­lo­gies are in demand and what are users’ preferences?

For this 3 ques­ti­ons to Execu­tive MBA and Senior Consul­tant at WALTER FRIES Corpo­rate Finance GmbH in Aschaf­fen­burg, Germany

1. Where is the trend in MOBILE COMMERCE heading? What are the trends in shop­ping, func­tion­a­lity and advertising?

The advance of smart­phones conti­nues unab­a­ted. In 2011, BITKOM concluded that more than one in two phones sold in Western Europe and the USA is a smart­phone. World­wide, one item per second is purcha­sed on eBay via a mobile appli­ca­tion. A total of around six million Germans now use a mobile device for shop­ping, and it is assu­med that within five years around eight percent of the goods sold in e‑commerce will be sold on mobile devices.

Digi­tal goods in parti­cu­lar, such as tickets, music, apps, and books, are purcha­sed with mobile devices because they can be used directly on the mobile device. Retailer websites are incre­asingly being adapted to mobile devices in the form of apps to make shop­ping on these sites easier. Normal websites are usually not suita­ble for mobile devices, as they offer too much infor­ma­tion with little clarity. Mostly buttons are set up with which one comes directly to the conclu­sion of the purchase. For exam­ple, via new payment offers, payment can be made directly by clicking a button and ente­ring a user name and pass­word, without the need for time-consum­ing input of address data, etc.

We assume that mobile adver­ti­sing will be an inte­gral part of marke­ting. The custo­mer enters into cont­act with the adver­ti­sing company due to mobi­lity in chan­ging envi­ron­ments. This means that compa­nies can use mobile marke­ting to address custo­mers in a much more targe­ted way in the future.

2. Which mobile payment models are the future?

NFC (Near Field Commu­ni­ca­tion) and payment with eWal­lets are the favo­ri­tes. — Users load money onto a mobile wallet (for this they need an account with an eWal­lets provi­der — e.g. google) and can then use this account to pay in statio­nary retail outlets or even directly in online stores. In the store, the device must be held up to a recei­ver device so that the corre­spon­ding data can be trans­mit­ted via NFC. On the Inter­net, payment is made by ente­ring the rele­vant account data.

In addi­tion, proprie­tary payment models, in which custo­mers can pay via previously acqui­red credits or credit balan­ces, play an important role. Promi­sing payment services are QR Shop­ping from Ebay/Paypal, “Drive Thru Payment” (Star­bucks), “Yapi­tal” (Otto Group) and “Mpass” (Tele­fo­nica). In the long term, we believe that NFC tech­no­logy will prevail, as it allows payments to be proces­sed quickly, is very simple, and can also be linked to other func­tions such as loyalty or coupon systems. It should be mentio­ned that payment services in Asia (high cell phone pene­tra­tion, in some cases no nati­on­wide DSL infra­struc­ture) and North America (where there are hardly any conve­ni­ent payment methods such as bank trans­fer or direct debit) will certainly estab­lish them­sel­ves even faster than in Germany.

3. What trend is emer­ging in M&A deals in this area? What are you looking for?

In terms of M&A tran­sac­tions, inves­tors are focu­sing on young tech­no­logy compa­nies in parti­cu­lar. Compa­nies that draw atten­tion to them­sel­ves with new tech­no­lo­gies and appli­ca­ti­ons. These compa­nies are often taken over by the major market play­ers during the deve­lo­p­ment phase and inte­gra­ted into their busi­ness struc­ture. In this way, the small compa­nies manage to bring their tech­no­lo­gies to the market and the market play­ers to further diffe­ren­tiate them­sel­ves from the compe­ti­tion. One exam­ple is the acqui­si­tion of Insta­gram by Facebook.

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