By the end of next year, 4.8 billion people globally will use a mobile phone, and smartphone subscribers will represent 46 percent of the global population, according to predictions by Forrester. The growth will be driven primarily by Africa and Asia.
Among the key findings: In 2016, consumers will begin to demand a more streamlined experience on mobile devices, and brands will start to notice. U.S. and European consumers will begin to catch up with their more demanding Asian counterparts when it comes to how they interact with companies on mobile.
"Consumers will continue to spend most of their time in only a few apps (e.g. Facebook, Google Maps, WeChat), but will increasingly turn to aggregation apps and a handful of platforms to get the content and services they need," Forrester analyst Julie Ask said.
Those platforms will deliver a stream of relevant content and services, so users never have to leave the app. For providers without the scale or stickiness of a social network, or the utility of a Google Maps, expect user interaction to fall off a cliff in 2016.
Forrester also expects more than 25 percent of companies to change how they use mobile when it comes to interacting with customers. Also, they will get better at measuring and tracking the impact of mobile on and offline.
For brick-and-mortar retailers, mobile will influence about $1 trillion in spending in the U.S. this year.
An example done well, according to Forrester, is Facebook's Atlas partnership that connects mobile ads with in-store point-of-sales systems by tracking consumers across their various devices. Expect smart merchants to increasingly adopt this type of technology, Forrester said.
And don't discount Google: "Google has some of the best cross-channel tracking capabilities because they own the mobile operating system on most smartphones, plus Maps, Google Now, Search, Gmail, etc., that offer so much information around purchase intent plus location," Ask said.