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2013: The Year of Mobile

February 16 2014

mobile growthAs a tech company with a popular mobile tool, we're in a unique position to observe technology trends as the years go by – and 2013 was certainly one for the books. What we saw in 2013 was double the number of people logging into our mobile applications--a trend that continues early into 2014. More specifically, we tracked over 15 million logins, over 40 million properties viewed, and over a billion photos viewed on mobile devices. Say it with me: WOW! Let's take a moment to look a bit closer at this trend.

Why Mobile?

This is a "chicken or the egg" sort of question. Part of the reason we're seeing such growth in mobile is that more real estate professionals are developing a purposeful mobile strategy and implementing effective mobile tools. However, the reason they're doing so is that more consumers are using mobile as part of their real estate transaction. NAR, for example, states that over 68% of homebuyers use their mobile devices to search for homes these days.

Perhaps the largest use of real estate consumer mobile activity is when prospective homebuyers use a mobile device to begin their home search. This is where we come in, with our branded property search apps. Of course, if you don't provide an MLS data-driven property search app like ours to your buyer clients, they'll be getting their data from the other apps out there or from the mobile Web. Unless they're using an MLS app or the realtor.com® app, you can't be sure that the data they are looking at is accurate or up-to-date.

In addition, there is a cornucopia of other mobile tools consumers might use over the course of their real estate transactions – from digital signatures to glossaries of real estate terms. Want proof? Type the search term "real estate" into the App Store and you'll discover more options that you can count.

The explosion in mobile isn't isolated to real estate (few things ever are). You can see the trend across industries, demographics, and geographical regions.

What to Look for in 2014

I suspect that 2014 is going to be even bigger than 2013 as even more brands are implementing mobile products and more consumers are going to search for real estate on a mobile device.

It's also interesting to note that we saw tremendous growth in iPhone usage during 2013. iOS therefore is the most popular operating system, thanks to the dominance of iPad among tablets, as well as the continued strength of the iPhone.

In addition, we believe that there will be more tools that enable agents to better collaborate with their clients. So not only will clients use mobile to find a home, but they will also use that device to stay connected with their agents. Those agents will be able to track or monitor what listings their clients are reviewing and interested in.

Lastly, as the year continues, we anticipate seeing more and more agents with the support of their MLS, Franchises or brokers getting more mobile with their own personalized apps. Not only will big brands have an app presence, but so will agents wanting to connect with clients.

Why Smarter Agent?

I'd be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to articulate what Smarter Agent has to offer. It's not just that our mobile apps are entirely driven by MLS data, so they're 100% accurate. What's more important is that they are branded specifically to YOU, so you can establish a direct, one-on-one relationship with your clients. You get all the leads. You get all the control over your brand.