The future of mCommerce

After reading the article of Rigby “the future of shopping”, my interest in mobile commerce was piqued when I’ve read that “By 2014 almost every mobile phone in the United States will be a smartphone connected to the internet, and an estimated 40% of Americans will use tablets such as ipad”. I cannot yet imagine that some day soon, every single mobile phone will be a smartphone connected to the internet, even though I own a blackberry bold myself, and can’t quiet imagine my life without it.

Maybe I’m small minded but I can’t picture my grandma on my blackberry messenger list asking me how my day was nor telling me she’s buying stuff on her BB.

Forrester Research has released a report projecting that U.S. mobile commerce is on its way to reach $31 billion by 2016, growing at a 39% compound rate. But the report says that mobile commerce is only expected to be 7% of overall eCommerce sales by 2016 and only 1% of general retail sales.

This year alone, mobile commerce sales are expected to reach $10 billion as more consumers use their smartphones to make purchases. And they think that by improving mobile security more consumers will feel comfortable inputting financial  data into phones.

While they expect that mobile commerce sales will grow up to almost 40% each year for the next five years, I think the numbers are still small overall (7% of web sales penetration by 2016). Why is the percentage so small you may ask, after the prediction that almost every mobile phone in the United States will be a smartphone connected to the internet in 2014? Aren’t smartphones changing the way we consume web content anyways?

There is some interesting information I’ve found that I want to share with you guys. Some facts we must consider to understand why this number is so small even though smartphones are taking over the world.

Some data that I’ve read on Forrester indicated that most tablet owners also own smartphones, and many of those people naturally prefer to shop on the device that has the larger screen when given the choice. That doesn’t mean that the smartphone was not used in the process of seeking for an ideal product or comparing price. So using their iPad for a purchase doesn’t help the mCommerce numbers.

The second factor we need to consider is that when consumers do use their mobile phones in a retail context, it is to look up product information as they are in the midst of researching products in a physical store, or to compare prices, which often leads to a customer demanding a price match, which naturally won’t surface in any mCommerce figures.

So my question is, will mCommerce be just a helping hand for eCommerce? Or will it grow to its potential and become in the 5 to 7 years ahead the number one way of online shopping?

What do you think?

Please share your thoughts with us

Stephanie Sille


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