The apps vs. mobile Web debate rages on in the marketplace, the blogosphere and at tech conferences. But lots of people are coming around to believe that both development platforms have lots of room for growth. ComScore puts them at parity in terms of consumer usage.
We believe this to be true but mobile Web growth will accelerate and surpass the public attention paid to apps over the past 3 1/2 years. That’s due to the economics of mobile Web development (greater reach, less cost and less fragmentation), plus evolving capabilities (HTML5).
This is especially be true in certain verticals and horizontal market segments. SMBs, for example, will find it easier and cheaper to build mobile websites that don’t straddle several platforms (iOS, Android, WP7, etc.). These both segment audiences and require lots of development resources.
If this is true, we’ll see lots of growth in a short period for the mobile Web. This goes back to the fact that such a small percentage of websites are currently optimized for the mobile Web. Google’s efforts to change this will help, and are tied to boosting mobile search volume.
Meanwhile, OpenTable has just revamped and optimized its mobile website. But as it maintains a strong app strategy — which has led to lots of incremental business — this is supportive that apps and Web development don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact “1+1 can = 3.”
The move is symbolic if nothing else, showing a mobile local leader embracing the mobile Web as a development platform. There are likely lots of internal data they’ve based this on, showing users increasingly access the service through the mobile browser (my speculation).
Speaking of data, OpenTable also used this move as another opportunity to update us on its mobile usage. Thus far OpenTable has been one of the poster children of incremental mobile use — not only in volume but in quality and latency of engagement (“I need a table now vs. this weekend”).
Here’s all the data goodness in bullet form and, for the more graphically oriented, in the new ever-present marketing language of the infograph. Enjoy.
— OpenTable diners have spent $10+ billion at OpenTable restaurants worldwide
— 250+ million diners have been seated
— 7+ million diners are seated per month
— There are 20,000+ OpenTable restaurants worldwide and 12,000+ in the U.S.
— 9% of all reservations in North America are seated via OpenTable (as of Dec. 2010)
— 49% of OpenTable diners have booked an out-of-town reservation in the past year
— OpenTable diners have generated over 10 million reviews since 2008
— 400,000 diner reviews are created each month
— 30% of reservations are booked when the restaurants are closed