Chapter 17

The Recession’s Effect on Mobile’s Growth

Businesses, Especially Retail, Feel the Pinch

It was more life-changing for those who lost their homes and jobs, but the deepest recession to hit the global economy since the Great Depression brought large challenges to many marketers. Business was off across the board, and the relatively few dollars that consumers had accumulated remained in their pockets alongside those feature phones and smartphones.

The retail industry was among the most affected, with stores regularly going out of business and landlords facing a difficult, if not impossible, time filling an overabundance of empty spaces.

Coinciding with the worst of the economic woes was the increased adoption of mobile devices. Yes, the prices for phones were high (although not as high as they were for the DynaTAC or StarTAC) and the carriers required multiyear contracts for the best deals, but consumers bought in unprecedented numbers. In fact, the number of mobile subscribers in the United States had grown to 322 million by June 2011, up by more than 100 million over a five-year period, according to CTIA–The Wireless Association.

Simon Shops for Visitors

The job of driving shoppers to the mall and to engage with them while they are there falls to retail marketers like Patrick Flanagan, vice president of digital strategy at Simon Property Group.

Approximately 100 million unique shoppers annually flow through Simon’s 400 malls, according to the company. Given where consumer ...

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