How to Take Advantage of Apple’s Rise to Mobile Market Dominance

It’s no secret - the once small and extremely niche computer company that struggled for so long for market share in the '80s and '90s is now king of mobile. With more than 37 million iPhones and 15 million iPads sold last quarter (117 percent growth), Apple had their best quarter in corporate history. This explosive growth has sent shockwaves through financial markets, with AAPL stock surging well above the rest of the NASDAQ.

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Some would say this explosive growth is due mainly to profit margins on mobile phone sales. A recent article by Horace Dediu of Asymco.com shows some convincing data on Apple’s growth, and while the revenue share is comparable with closest rival Samsung, the profit shares seem to suggest a 75 percent dominance of the entire market.

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Of course, revenue and profit margin on unit sales isn’t the entire mobile story. Keep in mind that Apple has been smart to leverage the popularity of their mobile devices to take the lion share of app sale commissions, digital media sales and rentals, and books and magazine subscriptions. Some manufacturers such as RIM, know they need chip away at that share of hardware and have even resorted to giving away free tablets to app developers.

With an expanding market, Apple is poised to break records yet again, with the eventual release of the often-rumored iPhone 5 and iPad 3. Unfortunately, the future doesn’t look as bright for any of their closest rivals.

However, the one venture Apple has yet to perfect is their advertising platform. With the intimidating market share they possess, they must improve iAd inventory to compete with Google – the other elephant in the room.

For the mobile marketer, this data has a few implications:

  • Develop your apps for the leading mobile phones to leverage the greatest market shares (obviously). Apple offers some fantastic iOS emulators and development kits, but not the quickest turnaround time on app submissions, so plan ahead. 
  • Don’t expect enormous traffic or lead generation from Apple iAd. The inventory just isn’t there yet. Stick to Google and/or Millennial Media for mobile buys. 
  • Track everything. Mobile analytics has come a long way, with much of the same (if not more) data points available for mobile device native code and embedded browsers. Don’t spend a dime without defined success measures in place. Apple relaxed their third-party analytics policy some time ago. Take advantage of that opportunity. 
  • Optimize websites for popular mobile devices and target those devices with relevant mobile downloads such as apps, podcasts, books and digital media available on the major app stores. Use HTML5 alternatives to Flash to ensure Apple compatibility.

Have you taken the plunge into mobile marketing or app development? If not, what’s holding you back? Leave us a comment below.