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Everyone Wins With Openness

It’s not news that we shop, buy and consume much differently than we did just a couple of years ago.

My phone used to be a way to make calls, send texts, watch videos and take some (above average) photos. But these days I rarely find myself without my phone in hand, open to an app to read an article, listen to a podcast, engage with friends or colleagues. And I’m not alone: a recent study from Kantar Consulting confirmed that our eyeballs are glued to phones. People are typically spending close to six hours a day on digital media, more than 50% of which is on mobile.[1]

We are doing things on our phones we didn’t do a few years ago because we couldn’t do them. I use my phone for daily, important tasks and rely on it for on-demand services, like bill payments, home security management, entertainment and rides home. And that only scratches the surface.

When Kantar surveyed 11,500 consumers, 65% said they must have flexibility to do things they want at any time, any place.[2] That’s a figure that only increases the younger the audience gets, which makes sense!

There used to be certain things that we would only do when sitting at a computer, but today, there’s no distinction between where and when we can get things done. I’m used to buying groceries when I’m on the subway or purchasing an international flight while at the gym. In fact, doing things on my phone isn’t a nice to have–it’s a must have. If I can’t get something done while I’m on the go, I’m going to find another way of doing it, with another product.

Correlated, mobile app usage continues to grow year over year.[3] We spend more time in apps and there are tens of thousands of  of apps available, but what’s really surprising is that people still end up only using the same 26 apps over and over.[4] To me, a finite number of apps means that people rely on a single app per category (mail, travel booking, ride sharing), which have become ingrained in their daily habits. There’s a certain app threshold we hit, and companies have to fight to be the “winner.”

We have seen industries understand and respond to this trend already. Kantar gives a great relatable example about the hotel industry: hotels don’t solely rely on their own branded sites because they know that will limit consumer discovery and demand. Instead, potential travelers know they can find and book a room on numerous travel and booking websites. This approach–what we call the Open approach–exposes a hotel’s property to more potential guests and gives consumers additional options they may not have been aware of otherwise. And it means that, regardless of the consumer’s chosen travel app, he or she will see the hotel as an option.

Travel isn’t the only industry that has embraced the open ecosystem: we see it with entertainment, transportation, retail and shopping. And of course live entertainment.

This ties directly to what we have been pushing at SeatGeek, both for our app users and our sports clients. We have seen that the preference to purchase tickets on a mobile device has almost doubled over the past two years.[5] And we don’t want to just put tickets on traditional “ticketing” places like SeatGeek–we want to increase the likelihood of discovery by taking advantage of the other 25 apps that a consumer uses regularly, like Snap, Airbnb and Facebook.

As consumers, we are demanding more contextually relevant experiences, and industries have to respond by making product inspiration, search and purchase available anywhere. These two dynamics are growing and becoming even more entwined and are making our lives more effective, more efficient–and more fun. 

–Russ

[1] Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report
[2] Kantar study, 2018
[3] Flurry State of Mobile
[4] Nielsen Digital Study
[5] SeatGeek M&RR Study, 2016, 2017, 2018