Financial Literacy in an Era of Abundance

We’ve written before about the apparently inexorable growth of mobile commerce and consumption, a trend that Direct Marketing News recently labeled a “surge“. An article by Juan Martinez noted:

“According to a February 2012 Consumer Electronics Association M-Commerce Forecast, 90% of consumers own a tablet, a smartphone or a cell phone. Of these consumers, 37% are engaging in some form of mobile commerce. On average, consumers spent $642 on mobile purchases in the past 12 months — a whopping $124 billion overall.”

Something didn’t seem right about one of these numbers, so I divided $642 into $124 billion and saw that it represented something north of 193 million consumers.  Divide that by the 37% who are said to be engaging in some form of mobile commerce, and the total market balloons to over 520 million people.

I’m as bullish on mobile as the next guy, but those numbers don’t make any sense.

I tried to get the source document from CEA, but it’s a pricey report for a blog budget. In any event, my core point really isn’t whether CEA or Direct Marketing News made a mistake. It’s about the importance of maintaining some financial literacy.

This is a theme that grows out of Clay Johnson’s thesis in The Information Diet. As information becomes abundant, we have an increasing obligation to question and assess what we are told. I support formal curation, but even that won’t save us from having to do some of the legwork ourselves.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.