Nearshore Americas

In the Race to Win the Mobile Consumer, Latin America is Off to a Very Good Start

By Ann All
With the skyrocketing adoption rate of mobile devices, every company should have a mobile strategy to win the hearts, minds and business of so-called digital mobile consumers. And many companies do, especially in Latin America, according to a far-reaching global study by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Companies in Latin America appear more primed than many of their global counterparts to go after emerging mobile opportunities.


While companies in Asia-Pacific will spend the most on mobile initiatives in 2012, allocating $2.41 million per $1 billion in revenue to mobile projects, Latin Americans will invest $1.63 million, ahead of Europe ($1.59 million) and North America ($1.43 million). Looking ahead to 2015, Latin American companies will boost their levels of investment the most, from $1.63 million to $2.72 million.

In contrast, North American companies will grow their mobile spending from $1.43 million to $1.98 million, Europeans from $1.59 million to $1.76 million and AsiaPac companies from $2.41 million to $2.85 million.

Where Latin America Leads

Latin American companies outpace their global peers in other key areas of mobile strategy, as well. For example, Latin Americans developed 27 percent of their mobile applications just for tablets, vs. those developed just for smartphones or those designed to run on both phones and tablets.

That’s important, because the TCS study found companies that reported the most success in winning the business of digital mobile consumers said they designed an average 25 percent of their mobile apps just for tablets. For less successful companies, that number was a much lower 17 percent.

Latin American companies also reported conducting 42 percent of their total marketing, sales and service interactions with consumers via a mobile device, well ahead of all other regions except Asia-Pacific.

Compared to their global peers, Latin American companies have already made more changes in their products and processes to accommodate mobile strategies. On a scale of 1 to 7, Latin American companies awarded the degree of change they’d made a 5, higher than any other region. And they awarded a similar score to making future changes in categories such as “how we work with suppliers” and “post-sale customer service.”

Three Keys to Mobile Success

The TCS study also uncovered some important differences between companies that deemed their mobile efforts a success vs. those that reported they were not as successful as their peers.

For instance, cross-functional collaboration is key. While business units tend to lead mobile initiatives at leading companies, the IT department is heavily involved as well. Leaders gave cross-functional collaboration a score of 4.17 (on a scale of 1 to 5) as a success factor and listed it as the second most important factor. Laggards ranked it 3.43 and put it fourth on their list of key factors.

The report spotlights two other success factors for wooing and retaining digital mobile consumers:

  1. Developing mobile apps that are useful and easy for consumers to use. This one seems pretty obvious.
  2. Optimizing mobile apps or websites for local searches conducted by consumers on mobile devices. This means making sure apps or sites show up near the top when customers seek information via search engines like Google and Bing. Companies that do this obviously stand a better chance of capturing consumers at the point in time they are looking to purchase a nearby good or service.

The study also includes informative case studies of several companies involved in leading-edge mobile efforts, including Starbucks, Qantas Airlines and Owens Corning. In a follow-up article, we’ll examine six elements drawn from their experiences that TCS has identified as essential in creating and executing a superior consumer mobility strategy.

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The article first appeared in sister publication, Global Delivery Report

Kirk Laughlin

Kirk Laughlin is an award-winning editor and subject expert in information technology and offshore BPO/ contact center strategies.

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