The mobile revolution is taking over the ticketing industry. Some may think that I am overstating it because only 2 billion mobile tickets were sold last year, according to a new study by Juniper Research.
But get ready because that same study predicts that by 2014 more than 15 billion tickets will be purchased via mobile. And I think that’s a conservative estimate.
Many still believe that as long as they’re offering online ticketing, they’ve got a viable business model. The question, however, is how long will it be viable? In 2010, Morgan Stanley predicted that smartphones would outsell PCs by 2012.
By the end of 2010, smartphones were already outselling PCs. Year-over-year sales of PCs are only increasing 2.7 percent a year while smartphone sales are jumping more than 87 percent year over year.
What these figures tell me is that smartphones are quickly replacing PCs. Sure, you can still use your computer to buy tickets online. But who wants to do this when there are mobile applications for that? Apps could potentially improve the ticketing experience for a customer and a seller.
For the customer, it’s all about the convenience — being able to purchase tickets anywhere, use tickets how they want and not have to worry about losing a paper ticket. For ticket sellers, mobile ticketing also can be easy to use, improve productivity, generate more revenue and lower costs.
I see this as an important trend for Vendini, where our mobile ticket sales have increased more than 120 percent in just the past nine months. By sometime in late 2012, I believe the majority of our ticket sales will be mobile.
What surprises me is that while more than 40 percent of Americans and more than 60 percent of the world have smartphones, mobile ticketing is still in its infancy.
What’s the hold up? I think there are two major barriers to entering mobile ticketing — cost and a lack of understanding mobile technology. On average, people get a new mobile phone every 16 to 18 months. It seems like every time I blink Apple is introducing a new iPhone, and Android is right there with them.
Developing apps and keeping them updated requires a budget and takes time. But it is more than worth the effort. We wouldn’t be putting our resources here if we didn’t expect to see a significant return on investment.
The mobile revolution isn’t coming. It’s here. For the ticketing industry, if you aren’t mobile now, you’re already being left behind.
In November of 2001, Mark Tacchi set up a computer on a card table and started creating Vendini with nothing more than sweat equity, superb web development skills, a background in business and the gracious help of friends. As president and CEO, he says his only job now is “to make sure customers love us.” Mark earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manitoba in 1991. He later accepted a job working with Steve Jobs at NeXT and then followed him to Apple. From there, he went on to start his own software company Hipbone, Inc., which he later sold.