Spike in Computer Sales Force Marketers to Adapt to the Modern, Mobile Market

Electronic retailers have a new marquee category with record setting sales numbers. In a report in the Wall Street Journal’s Digits Blog, new numbers from the Consumer Electronics Association show that computers have topped television sales. The computer vertical is expected to hit $26 billion with 23 percent growth. Driving this forecast, and potentially of far more interest to businesses wanting to connect with wired customers, is the growing fervor over tablets.

According to the WSJ report: “The group expects the new category to leap from essentially nothing in 2009 to 6.9 million units in 2010, with sales growing by double-digit percentages through 2014.”

In contrast television sales are in third place, behind both computers and mobile devices which is a clear indicator of the synergy between the two, with a predicted drop of 2.5 percent to $21.9 billion. For marketers, a keen focus on mobile advertising appears to be an investment in the direction users, especially influential early adopters, are going.

The clear winners in all this are tablets, projected to cannibalize netbook sales which, with a push from Apple’s iPad, are expected to take a 12 percent tail dive this year. Not happy with just grabbing consumer’s attention, Apple is also gunning for Google with its development of the iAd platform. With Apple’s muscle behind it, and other companies lining up to get into the tablet market, mobile advertising dollars are expected (finally with more than just rhetoric) to boom over the next few years.

According to eWeek, by 2015 mobile advertising will have quadrupled to more than $1 billion a year. ABI analyst Neil Strother tells eWeek that, “This is a huge increase over the number doing so just 14 months ago, and is a powerful driver for the mobile marketing and advertising market.”

But what does this mean to marketers? It appears that some of the marketing budget for online sites is going to shift to the mobile space, not just in terms of phones but for catching wired consumers on the go.

And the shift is taking place. According to Shop.org and Forrester Research, 73 percent of online companies are developing a mobile strategy.  “Mobile investment is modest now, but we see that it will pick up in the future, especially among the biggest brands that have already invested significant amounts in their mobile operations,” said Sucharita Mulpuru, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research.

The savvy marketer will remain agile enough to keep revenue flowing with consumers on go. Whether this is through affiliate links via widgets, remessaging display or integrated campaigns that tie content from one platform to another, the key is to get the most out of mobile. This means research into the power of geolocation and personalization, so that the mobile ads showing up on tablets hit the right demographics in the right places.

With computing power increasing and apps replacing software, the mainstreaming of tablet computing seems like an inevitable tide. When faced with the choice of having their ads either sit in one place or follow a customer around in their pockets and briefcases, the smart advertiser is going to stick with tablets and mobile.

About Mike Koehler

Mike Koehler is the New Media Director for Schnake Turnbo Frank | PR, the largest and oldest public relations firm in Oklahoma. Mike consults with clients about the best use of tools on the Internet, Web strategy and social media policy. Mike blogs regularly at www.smirknewmedia.com and is working on his first book to be published in 2010. Mike lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and three kids.

You can find Mike on Twitter: @mkokc.

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