At the London headquarters of the IPA earlier today, representatives of the Future Foundation delivered briefings on the mobile web and the FMCG sector - and suggested that current consumer trends in these two areas overlap pretty significantly. After all, what better way can an FMCG brand boost positive sentiment among young, affluent consumers than by releasing a killer mobile app?

Ahead of the full Warc report on the event - available to subscribers soon - here are a few other standout takeaway points:

  • Future Foundation research suggests that 14% of Britons regularly accessed the web through their mobile phones last year, and that this proportion predicted to grow to 48% by 2014. What's more, UK mobile users collectively went online for 4.8bn minutes during December 2009.
  • One of the biggest ways FMCG brands are strengthening relationships with customers at the moment is through their official social media accounts. Advertisers which are already strong in this area could benefit from the general transition to mobile, given current browsing habits: Facebook alone accounts for 45% of the total time spent on the mobile internet.


    There's good news for agencies too, with recent data suggesting advertising on mobiles is quite effective, with 52% of smartphone users have acted on an ad contained within an app.
  • Charities could receive "a really important revenue stream" if the mobile web is monetised, said Karen Canty, account director - media, technology and telecoms at the Future Foundation. Her evidence? The astonishing fact that 28% of donations to a recent appeal for Haitian earthquake came from mobiles.
  • Another major trend enabled by mobile technology - specifically, the advent of GPS-enabled smartphones - will be geo-location. Services such as Foursquare and Geocaching are rapidly gaining in popularity, and Jimmy Choo, a designer shoe maker, recently ran a successful competition directing participants to certain locations, with the winner picking up a pair of Jimmy Choo trainers in their size.

  • One way for brands to gain access to mobile-obsessed consumers will be through concerns about health. People are willing to monitor and update health-and-fitness-related information about themselves online and track- part of a trend the Future Foundation calls "the quantified self". "There is a call for more information about health among consumers," according to Judith kleine Holthaus, account director - consumer goods. Early movers in this area include Nintendo, which has released a pedometer linked to a Pokemon game, and Nike, developer of a specialist app for runners.
  • And yet, it's not time to read the last rites to traditional media. TV in particular is still king: the recent decision to broadcast leadership debates in the run-up to the UK general election attracted consistently high ratings - 9.4m viewers for the first debate, falling slightly to 8.4m for the third.


    Crucially, the TV broadcasts engaged a group who, common wisdom holds, shun traditional media: of the 500,000 election registration forms downloaded following the debates, 40% were for 18 to 24-year-olds.

Over the course of the two briefings , one general lesson for brands stood out: mobile will become an important part of the media mix - and those who get their strategies right stand to reap the rewards.