How Kenneth Cole is Changing Fashion through Mobile and Social Media

‘During the @kennethcole runway show, out of respect for other members of the audience please make sure your phones and tablets are switched ON. This show will embrace the intrusive nature of social media.’

It wasn’t long ago that fashion shows were largely private affairs, where photography and video were tightly managed. Yet  the opening words above, greeted the audience to Kenneth Cole’s 2013 New York Fashion Week show.

The advent of smartphones, with high megapixel cameras and social media apps has challenged the highly controlled world of fashion shows. That challenge is similar to many retailers, where consumers are able to search, photograph and share products instantly. Whilst most runway shows barely tolerate smartphones, Kenneth Cole clearly embraces it. His front row was littered with fashion bloggers all using their smartphones to Tweet, Instagram and Vine (if that is now a verb) the event. He went a step further though, and at the end of the show the models came down the catwalk sending live Tweets from their phones. It was in the name of charity, as each Tweet sent resulted in a $1 donation from Kenneth Cole to an Aids charity.

By embracing smartphone driven social media in this way, Kenneth Cole has shown how brands can:

–       Use mobile social media to connect brands from the physical world to online channels

–       Bring amplification through sharing these events in social media

–       Create a long-tail of brand awareness through user generated content or co-creation

I previously blogged about how mobile social media were disrupting fashion and retail, but Kenneth Cole’s show takes it much further than that. Whilst it creates an opportunity to reach a global audience previously unavailable, Kenneth Cole is using mobile and social to challenge the traditional dynamic of fashion. With fashion bloggers using the new tools of the trade, it brings immediacy to a global audience. With models Tweeting down the catwalk, they are no longer simply ‘hangers’ for the clothes but now active participants in the event. And with celebrities populating the front rows, alongside the journalist and bloggers, are mobile and social creating a new form of reality fashion show?

The State of Tablet Devices: some facts and figures

A roundup of the tablet landscape 

In early 2011, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook announced at Goldman Sachs that tablets will overtake PC sales by the end of 2012.

We know from Tim Cook’s statement that 55 million iPads had been sold in the 18 months since Apple’s was launched. That makes the iPad more successful in terms of sales rate than the iPhone (3 years to 55 million) and much more successful that the iPod. The iPad currently dominates the market, however, there has been strong growth in Android-type devices. Tablet sales rocketed in the third quarter of 2012 (according to end of 2012 figures from IDC), and Samsung and Amazon saw significant sales increases. According to analyst house IDC more than 27.8 million tablets were shipped in the third quarter of 2012 – up 6.7 percent on the previous quarter – but during that time Apple saw its market share cut to 50.4 percent, compared to 65.5 percent in the previous quarter.


According to Comscore data from the end of 2011, tablets skew more towards men, however as tablet devices have grown, the demographic has switched, and are now used by more women than men in the US:

Demographic Profile: Tablet* and Smartphone Audience
3 month avg. ending Apr. 2012 
Total U.S. Tablet Owners and Smartphone Subscribers, Age 13+
Source: comScore TabLens and comScore MobiLens
% Share of Tablet Audience % Share of Smartphone Audience Index of Tablet to Smartphone Audience**
Total Audience 100.0% 100.0% 100
 Male 49.2% 51.6% 95
 Female 50.8% 48.4% 105
 13-17 7.3% 6.5% 112
 18-24 12.3% 16.9% 73
 25-34 24.4% 25.3% 96
 35-44 21.4% 21.2% 101
 45-54 17.8% 15.7% 113
 55-64 10.1% 9.2% 110
 65+ 6.8% 5.3% 128
Household Income:
 <$25k 7.4% 11.7% 63
 $25k to <$50k 17.7% 19.5% 91
 $50k to <$75k 18.9% 19.5% 97
 $75k to <$100k 18.3% 15.9% 115
 $100k+ 37.7% 33.4% 113


As expected, the earlier adopters tend to be of higher income, but are more likely to choose a tablet over a smartphone. As with smartphones, cheaper devices and notebook replacements (see below) will create demand from lower income groups.

For many, a tablet is not a PC replacement, but an additional (yet another) device, that is hardly surprising. Comscore tell us that in Europe 34% of iPad users also own an iPhone.


According to Flurry in Sept 2012, tablet users tend to be older than those with smartphones.

Tablet Age Distribution

Where are they used?

The most preferred place to use a tablet is in the living room according to data from Adweek

tablet location use

It confirms the trend that they are largely a domestic device rather than a mobile one. The use in the living room also demonstrates the shared nature of tablets. Data from YouGov, stated that in the UK there is 8% tablet ownership, but significantly it represented 20% of UK households in June 2012 (

Tablet Devices to overtake Notebook Sales

As expected, tablet devices are rapidly replacing notebook sales, with a prediction from NPD Display Search (Dec 2012) that they will overtake notebook sales this year:

Tablet vs PC

Tablet Users do More

In the US, Comscore tell us that nearly 98% of tablet data usage was from the iPad at the start of 2011. As with the iPhone, it would seem that users do more of everything than other devices. They are also beginning to overtake desktop usage. Comscore’s November 2011 figures show that tablets represent 30% of non-desktop traffic. That is considerably higher than the percentage of ownership of ownership.

When it comes to purchasing, tablets also perform well. A study by Adobe Research over the 2011 US holiday period found that tablet users spend 54% longer on sites than mobile users, and purchase over 20% more than desktop visitors. The following chart shows a comparison using average retail order value.

The high sale value is partly down to the ease of use of the devices. In an IAB study in December 2011nearly half of respondents said they used their tablet because it was ‘the easiest to pick up’ and 37% said that it offered the easiest user interface. But it is also worth considering that as tablets skew towards a higher income bracket, users are more likely to purchase.

Forecasts from eMarketer show that tablet devices show a greater growth when it comes to purchasing, with tablets representing nearly 10% of all US retail sales by the end of 2013:


Top Categories

Hardly surprisingly, the focus on tablet content is much more towards home/family than on smartphones (according to Comscore data):


Last Thing at Night (and First Thing In the Morning)

Data from Nielsen in 2011 found that 70% of tablet owners use it in front of the TV. Clearly, the iPad is the device for two screening. Interestingly though, the iPad is used in bed by nearly 60% of owners and appears to be replacing the book at bedtime. That figure is similar to smartphone use, but with tablets the spike at the end of the day is even more pronounced. Both the IAB study and data from Comscore in the US show that later in the evening, tablets are used more than mobile or television. On weekends there tends to be an earlier peak:

Advertising and Media

IgnitionOne, revealed that year-over-year (YoY) paid search spending growth for tablets doubled that of smart phones in the fourth quarter of 2012 as mobile devices as a whole grew to 18% of search budgets in the U.S

Useful read from Comscore: Connected Europe, How Tablets and Mobile are shifting media consumption (Jan 2012)

An App-based World

The Sept 2012 Flurry report found that tablet users were more likely to download apps than those with smartphones, and used the devices for playing games:


Video Views

Tablet Users Watch More!

According to Comscore in Sept 2012, tablet users are three times more likely to watch video on their device than smartphone users. Over half of US users (53%) ever watch a video during a month, with nearly 10% doing so every day:

Video/TV Viewing on Device for Tablet* and Smartphone Audience 
3 month avg. ending Apr. 2012 
Total U.S. Tablet Owners and Smartphone Subscribers, Age 13+
Source: comScore TabLens and comScore MobiLens
Share of Audience that Watched Video/TV on Device
% of Tablet Audience % of Smartphone Audience
Ever in month 53.0% 20.0%
Once to three times throughout the month 24.6% 10.3%
At least once each week 18.9% 6.7%
Almost every day 9.5% 2.9%

onine video

Inevitably, video viewing is much higher on tablets than mobile. As a total percentage of online video views, tablet (3.21%) surpassed mobile (2.21%).

Ooyala’s “Global Video Index” report (Nov 2012) suggested that 71% of tablet users watch long-form content (30-60 mins), whereas on mobile it is much more focussed on short-form ‘snacking’ behaviour. The report also showed that tablet viewers were far more likely to complete a video view longer than 10 mins than any other device: for videos longer than 10 minutes was 39.2%, compared to 35.3% for CTV & GC, 26.8% for desktops, and 22.3% for mobile phones.

For shorter videos, tablets were still saw more completions than mobile, but were surpassed by connected TVs.

The Preferred Device for Reading

Whilst it is no surprise that tablets are preferred over mobile for reading, they are also more popular than dedicated e-readers (Online Publishers Association, June 2012). That naturally includes news and magazine content. Data from the MPA, November 2011, found that 45% of tablet owners spend 1-3 hours per week reading magazines. This makes the tablet the most-used digital device for reading:

Conversion Rates

Data which compared 2010 and 2011, reported by eConsultancy, showed that conversion rates for tablets were higher than mobile – 2.3% compared to 5.4% and 5% for desktops and tablets respectively.

Tablets and Consumers

tablet shopperThe research from Nielsen (Dec 2012, US) shows that shoppers will tend to use their mobile for

–        finding stores, price comparison in-store, redeeming coupons

For tablets, though, consumers are more likely to:

–        Research items, read reviews, purchase

Two Screening

Although two screening use is largely similar between smartphone and tablet, the Nielsen data (US, Dec 2012) suggests that tablet devices are more popular for two-screening in older audiences:


Mobile Predictions for 2013

Whilst mobile technologies move quickly, its rise has been steady and incremental for well over a decade. There has not been, nor never will be a ‘year of mobile.’ So largely speaking, most trends in mobile have already started. If you’ve been reading the marketing and technology press then you will already have a good idea what will happen in 2013. But which trends are just fads and which will become a reality?

QR code scansIt feels like QR, Augmented Reality and NFC have been on mobile forever. Don’t expect to see any significant shifts. Consumers will still not see the point of scanning a QR code, with less than 20% of Europe’s smartphone owners doing so. AR will remain exciting and interesting, but with a few million users it will continue to be niche for brands. NFC is also struggling. The lack of a chip in the iPhone5 hasn’t helped adoption, and neither has the lack of terminals. The biggest hurdle is consumer perception of security. Sure, we are beginning to see NFC in credit cards, but it is all about perceptions, and payment providers have a lot of work to do to build trust.

Similarly mobile display advertising will only see an incremental rise. Although brands have been spending more in recent years, it still represents a very small portion of budgets (anyone remember iAd?), especially when compared to the time spent in mobile. Mary Meeker calls this ‘an opportunity’, but maybe brands don’t spend because it doesn’t deliver the numbers. Facebook and Google share prices have suffered as a result. But above all, mobile advertising doesn’t deliver a good experience on mobile. In the UK the operators announced a joint project called Weve, so expect to hear plenty more about it in 2013. Just don’t expect any significant shift in behavior.

The Upwardly Mobile

Mobile Payments have been on the rise for the last few years. It is clear that these payments will not come through any single channel, such as NFC. Instead it will be a matter of consumers using payment through a range of apps, brand apps and mobile sites. Apple’s Passbook shows potential, but the two big players in this space are likely to be PayPal and Square, both of whom are creating secure, frictionless experiences.

China, obviously has seen significant growth for the last two decades, and it has become the largest consumer market, the largest smartphone market and at the end of 2012, mobile internet access was greater than desktop. In 2013 China will be the place not just of ‘uptake’ but a place of real innovation and opportunities for brands. Witness Lei Jun, who is head of technology firm Xiaomi, described as the ‘Chinese Steve Jobs

Virtual retail and the rise of the ‘unstore. Last year I predicted that virtual stores such as Tesco Homeplus in Korea would become more widespread. In 2012 we saw various offerings from PayPal, Tesco F&F and many more. However these were largely PR stunts. However in 2013 we are likely to see more permanent offerings, spurred on by the announcement that Chinese retailer Yihaodian will open 1000 such stores.Tesco F&F London

Data and especially ‘Big Data’ were the catch phrases of 2012. As someone put it to me ‘it’s just data’. The now ubiquitous nature of smartphones means that data is being generated constantly. Combine this with Open Data and APIs and all kinds of things become possible. Twitter has become a major source of such data, predicting the US presidential result or spotting trends five hours ahead. In Kenya they are using it to track and manage malaria. Brands can also use this data to bring a better understanding of their customers and deliver a better service.

Data Privacy – the flip side of big and open data is that as consumers we will see more brand invasion of our privacy. Witness the numerous privacy issues around Facebook. A couple of slightly scary trends are based on facial recognition; Scene Tap and Facedeals. Technologically interesting, it remains to be seen if they are acceptable to consumers.

Connected Devices – the smartphone may have reached its obvious conclusion. Largely speaking it does everything we need. There will be improvements in screen and interface technology in 2013, such as better voice control, gesture control and variable texture or haptic screens. The big change, however, will be in connected devices. Google Glass project has been widely hailed as the future. Patents from Microsoft and Apple demonstrate that the space is hotting up. However, that kind of wearable technology is likely to be limited; both looks and practical issues from potential eyesight damage will not see AR glasses become universal. The interesting trend is in devices such as Nike Fuel. For brands, it will mean bringing more service into the product space. However, simple, cheap devices will also become more prevalent. Witness the Red Tomato Pizza fridge magnet. A simple, low-cost approach to brand engagement.

Want more trends? Try these: and

How the Past Saw the Future

When it comes to technology, predicting the future is never easy. Whilst we know what many technologists are working on, ultimately the future is led by user adoption and the channels that it creates. As much as anything else, our vision is more a statement of where we are, at a given time and what our desires for the future. Ahead of my presentation on the future, at The Drum’s  Four Minute Warning event, here are some past visions of the future. Very few of these have come to pass.

A fascinating view came from 19th Century French artists, who thought we would have flying firemen and play underwater croquet:

In the 1920s the future was an urban one, as seen (largely)  by Fritz Lang:


The Jetsons, of course, was a future vision based on the optimism and rapid development of consumer technology in the 1950s and 60s:


Whilst The Jetsons was concerned with space, Japanese Manga Cartoon, Marine Boy saw  the future underwater (and we would breathe by chewing Oxygum):


Still  in the 50s, it was all about space travel and robots for Disney:


Whilst the 1960s predicted the change that the internet would bring,  somehow they failed to see the changing role of women, in this somewhat unenlighted piece:


BBC was less fantastical, but pretty accurate in their predictions, apart from being able choosing the sex and IQ of your child:


Apple’s view of the future is much more about their own ambitions, but pretty accurate as a result:


1990s Kids showing more insight than most commentators:

Seven brands who are using Apple Passbook well

Apple’s Passbook which had a soft launch alongside iOS6, seems to have been met with a lukewarm reception by those in mobile. Hoping for NFC in the iPhone5, people were naturally disappointed that Apple delivered something lacking in originality. However, that might be its strength. A combination of user familiarity, native integration, alerts to the front of the screen and ease of set up for brands could make Passbook something of a hit.

First of all, Passes are easy to set up via their API, but also through a number of interfaces. They can be highly targeted and set to pop-up on screen at a specific time or a specific location. Imagine if Foursquare, for example could push an offer to the front screen whenever you passed a venue? Passbook can do exactly that. Whilst, offers, loyalty and ticketing are an obvious use, there is a massive opportunity for brands to use Passbook to offer a better service or utilities. It’s already being done for accommodation information, medication alerts or credit card statements. So perhaps it’s time for brands to get imaginative and find some new and interesting uses for Passbook Passes.

Brand Emotivity has written a white paper on the opportunities of Passbook and how to implement it, which is below, or can be downloaded here.

I previously blogged how Eventbrite and Auchan, the French supermarket are making good use of the system. Other brands who have been successful with Passbook is Starbucks (probably the ‘best in class’), Sephora, Air BnB, Medpass and Billpass.

See the slideshare below (or ) to undertand the opportunities, see how these brands have used Passbook and how to create your own passes.

Why there will never be a ‘Year of Mobile’

Since I got into the mobile marketing space nearly ten years ago, people have constantly asked the question, ‘when is the year of mobile’? It’s essentially a short hand of saying ‘at what point will mobile marketing become a main-stream activity which both consumers and brands accept’. And therein lies the problem. We have seen a steady rise in the role of mobile, and defining any point at which it has reached mass adoption is difficult.

2012 was significant in respect of the fact that time spent in mobile media overtook time spent in traditional media (according to Mary Meeker in the US). However, the fact is that mobile has been a popular consumer device for at least 15 years in Europe and the US. Since the millennium, brands have been involved in all kinds of mobile-based engagement. Initially it was text messaging, there were some experiments with WAP sites, proximity (such as Bluetooth) and apps (and that was before Apple’s App Store). With the advent of feature phones over ten years ago, a significant content market of ring tones, wallpapers and Java-based games and utilities was created. In emerging economies, mobile payments and money transfers have been commonplace for over a decade. Whichever way you look at it mobile has been a key device in our lives for many years.

No one can actually agree when or what the ‘year of mobile’ actually is. A quick search throws up a number of commentators who have declared this event for the last three or four years. Part of the problem is finding a measure for when mobile has ‘made it’. Is it consumer adoption? Brand engagement? Mobile advertising? mCommerce? No one seems to know.

It was only this week that is heard the latest ‘year of mobile’ declaration, which came from Dave Coplin of Microsoft. He said: ‘It seems that every year is declared the ‘The year of mobile’ but I really do think it is the year of mobile’. Well he would say that, wouldn’t he. After all, Microsoft has failed to get any real foothold in the mobile OS market with their Nokia partnership. According to Tomi Ahohen it is only reached 3%. It would appear that the declaration is therefore more of a marketing exercise than a true analytical assessment of the mobile landscape.

If you consider the development of mobile devices, it has been an incremental adoption over nearly two decades. And that trend will continue for some time to come. Certainly we have arrived at a point where smartphones are at the centre of our digital lives, but there are many more developments to happen. Mobile payments and mCommerce have yet to establish themselves as the first place for transactions. And what about mobile connecting us to the other devices in our lives – cars, our household devices or health applications? We are a long way from reaching that point.

In the end calling something ‘year of mobile’, is an utterly pointless declaration. Mobile has been an important part of our lives for many years and will continue to do so for some considerable time to come.

The Rise of the Unstore

How mobile is changing retail to create a new type of store:

The rapid uptake of smartphones has had a significant impact in retail. Many stores are seeking ways to combat ‘show-rooming’, where consumers browse in-store and then buy elsewhere on their mobile. Some, such as Best Buy are simply matching online prices, others such as Macys and Toys-R-Us are creating a more immersive app-based experience to win their customers on the service side.

The other trend has been the re-invention of the store. Take the products away, and instead use posters to display the products. It means that the shops can be pretty much anywhere. Whilst some have described these as ‘virtual stores’, arguably they are not virtual as they clearly exist in the real world. Instead I am calling these ‘unstores’.

The first to appear was Tesco Homeplus in Korea, with their QR-based metro posters. Since then retail brands including PayPal (Singapore), eBay (London), Argos (London), Delhaize (Brussels) and John Lewis (Brighton) have delivered similar offerings. Net-A-Porter’s (London and New York) pop up window used augmented reality rather than QR codes, and Tesco’s F&F pop up store (London) used iPads and QR tags to allow users to order products.

These examples were all short-term, largely PR exercises, however the future looks more permanent. Chinese supermarket retailer, Yihaodain, plans to open 1000 unstores. It makes complete sense in that market. Chinese have no tradition of desk-top retailing, but the rapid uptake of smartphones creates an opportunity to engage the time-poor Chinese worker. This is likely to be just the start. I would expect many brands in Europe and the US to follow suit.