January 17, 2007, 12:00 AM

Top U.S. retail brands are slow to go mobile

Only 8% of the top 1,000 U.S. brands have web sites compatible with mobile web browsers, according to a new survey, and retail industry brands have a mobile web site adoption rate of a mere 1%. But 2007 may bring significant change.

Only 8% of the top 1,000 U.S. brands have web sites compatible with mobile web browsers, according to a new survey. And retail industry brands do not fare even that well: they have a mobile web site adoption rate of a mere 1%, say results of the Top 1,000 Brands’ Mobile Web Presence Survey by RarePlay, a laptop, mobile phone, PDA and Internet consulting and technology company.

One area that shines in retail, though, is electronics and home appliances. 16% of brands in this category have mobile versions of their webs sites.

“An 8% mobile web adoption rate is small when you consider 42% of Alexa’s top 100 web sites have mobile web versions,” says Bob Rattivarakorn, RarePlay research analyst. “Recent surveys suggest roughly 20% of the U.S. online population over the age of 15 accesses the Internet over their mobile phones. So close to 30 million potential mobile site visitors are being overlooked.”

Industries where brands have the highest adoption rates include Internet and Internet service providers (23%), travel (18%), insurance (17%) and entertainment (17%).

However, if 2006 was the year of online video then 2007 could be the year of mobile web sites, Rattivarakorn contends. The growth of mobile broadband offered by several wireless carriers and the rise of third-generation mobile phones will further accelerate greater adoption of mobile web access and use, he adds.

As a result, mobile devices will act more or less like PCs and content and services-including online shopping, mobile video and mobile social networking-will move toward the mobile platform, Rattivarakorn predicts, and advertisers will move in as more consumers move to the platform.

“More brands will follow the industry leaders,” says Ron Knowlton, RarePlay chief technology officer. “Today people have mobile lifestyles and they expect to have access to information from anywhere-mobile web capabilities provide just that.”

 

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