The 10 Most Important Charts Of The Year In Mobile, According To Tech And Digital Media Industry Executives

At Business Insider Intelligence, we produced over 340 charts and accompanying datasets this year that dug into all sorts of mobile industry topics, includingthe smartphone and tablet markets, wearables, mobile advertising, mobile commerce, and the world of apps and app stores.

Here’s a slideshow of the charts that our thousands of individual and corporate subscribers across tech, digital media, finance, and telecoms considered the most important in 2013, as judged by our analytics that tell us which of our daily charts the greatest number of subscribers opened and read. You can click the link at the bottom of this post to view the slideshow, or click to view as one page to the right.

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10. Personalisation was a big buzz word in mobile in 2013, but few companies are actually using it.

Personalisation refers to content and advertising that dynamically alters itself so that it's particularly relevant to the individual or audience it's intended for. It's a powerful technique, especially on mobile, because mobile is such an intimate medium, and personalised messages can be tailored according to location and context. An example might be an outdoor retailer's ad on a weather app, which features a ski sale whenever it's snowing at a user's location. In 2014, personalisation will be implemented rather than just talked about.

9. The mobile industry has become hyper-concentrated in one sense: manufacturer profits.

At first glance, mobile seems like a world teeming with companies that are churning out smartphones. But of these major manufacturers, only two of them make any money: Samsung and Apple.

8. App stores have become the world's dominant software market.

If the 60 billion app downloads from Apple's app store in the last five years were shared among the world's population, every person in the world would have eight iOS apps. The app boom has reached staggering proportions. Even if growth slows, it's clear that phone apps constitute the largest software market in global history.

7. Mobile commerce is helping online retailers capture sales they would have never made otherwise.

eBay estimates that 4% of its sales would have never happened if it weren't for tablets and smartphones, i.e. the transactions are incremental. In other words, mobile e-commerce isn't just the shift of online sales to new devices, it's creating totally new selling opportunities for online retailers.

6. Android is slowing down.

While the slowdown for sales of Apple iPhones and iPads gets more attention, the rate of growth in Android device activations is also decelerating. Note how the slope of the growth curve in the chart above is growing flatter toward the right. This is due to maturing smartphone markets globally. People are still snapping up smartphones, but there isn't a constant flood of new smartphone users every year, so growth rates are moderating.

5. Apple's devices dominate in terms of advertising revenue.

2013 was a year in which mobile advertising made big gains. In the U.S. alone, mobile advertising carved out a 15% share of digital advertising in the first half of 2013, according to the IAB. But a lot of mobile advertising revenue is generated by iPads and iPhones, which tend to attract power users and thus more opportunities for advertisers. That said, other platforms are gradually peeling off share from Apple.

4. Pinterest emerges as the first tablet-first social network.

Pinterest had accumulated well over 15 million mobile-only U.S. users by June 2013. These are people that only see the smartphone or tablet versions of Pinterest, and never visit the social network on their laptop or desktop computers. We know from other data that most of Pinterest's mobile usage is from tablets, not smartphones. 2013 was the year in which Facebook, Twitter, and other web properties definitively became mobile-first companies. Pinterest is arguably the first social network to be tablet-first, though Netflix is another top-tier online service that is also tablet-centric.

3. Samsung slows, Nokia gains.

In our third quarter update on smartphone manufacturer shipments, we noticed an interesting trend. Between the third quarter of 2012 and the third quarter this year, Samsung's share of global handset shipments didn't budge from around 32%, but Nokia saw a bump, from 1.6% to 3.5% of all shipments. Samsung will likely once again make gains when a new Galaxy is shipped in 2014, but there's a glimmer of hope in this data for Microsoft-owned Nokia.

2. The iPhone and iPad are no longer the teflon kings of device pricing.

If I had to point to the single most important chart of 2013, this would be my choice. It used to be that even as the average selling price of all smartphones dropped, the iPhone remained stubbornly expensive. But even mighty Apple has had to cede to consumer demands for quality smartphones at lower prices. Apple now makes room in its device mix for older smartphones at lower price points (and, as many analysts have noted, the 'new' iPhone 5C is basically an iPhone 5 with a new case). Make no mistake: smartphones are being commoditized. However, that doesn't mean that manufacturers can stop worrying about quality. Consumers want quality, a reasonable range of features, and a low price. Price disruption in the tablet market happened even more quickly. Why? Because tablets aren't subsidized by carriers, so consumers quickly gravitated toward lower-price devices and mini tablets, and exerted pressure on tablet manufacturers to bring prices down.

1. Pandora shows the mobile industry that a viable business can be built around mobile advertising.

Things looked dicey for Pandora until very recently. But now, mobile revenue accounts for 72% of Pandora's total, according to the last quarterly earnings report. And its measure of how well it is monetizing its mobile users -- revenue per thousand impressions, or RPM -- is nearer to closing the gap with desktop RPM. 2013 was the year that showed that business models geared around mobile ads could work, despite the naysaying of purists who think ads have no place on mobile.

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