Nearly 1.3 billion mobile users -- 30% of the subscriber base -- are expected to utilize local mobile search services by 2013, according to a new report from industry analysts, Juniper Research.
The report argues that the best equipped regions for the delivery of mobile local search are currently Western Europe and North America, as all countries within these regions have good local digital information suppliers (yellow and white pages, city guides, restaurant and entertainment guides, traffic information, etc.) and also good mapping data (both on and off road) with good coverage of points of interest (POI).
Advertising supported local search will be the key to driving this sector according to Juniper Research, but the firm cautions that the effectiveness of advertising in this sector will vary widely according to local conditions. The availability and quality of locally based directories and content will be a key factor, as well as the presence of the necessary location based infrastructure. In the end it will be the quality of the user experience that will be of paramount importance, the report states.
Additional findings from the Juniper report include:
-- Local search is expected to account for 43% of cumulative mobile search advertising revenues between 2008 and 2013
-- User response rates to advertising which supports mobile local search are expected to be significantly higher than for advertising on general mobile web search
-- While Western Europe currently accounts for the greatest volume of mobile search enquiries, it will soon be overtaken by the Far East & China region primarily through a surge in adoption within China itself
The report also forecasts total mobile search revenues to reach $4.8 billion by 2013 but cautions that an "advertising overload" might act as a disincentive to consumers and might ultimately limit adoption, while there are continuing public concerns over search engine usage of personal data.
Juniper Research assesses the current and future status of mobile search market based on interviews, case studies and analysis from representatives of some of the leading organisations in the growing mobile search industry.