Mobile Web Advantage #2: Mobile Commerce is Seeing Explosive Growth

August 18th, 2011 by

In a previous post from our Mobile Web Advantage series, we explored the various ways that mobile web builds on existing habits. In this post, we will drill down into mobile commerce, which refers to the buying and selling of products and services through a mobile device. Mobile commerce is experiencing such explosive growth that many retailers are rushing to create mobile websites to capitalize on this trend and satisfy their mobile-savvy customers.

Smartphones are rapidly becoming ubiquitous within the mobile population. There are approximately 429.7 million global smartphone subscribers; this number is expected to increase to 1.2 billion by 2015. Furthermore, the global m-commerce market is expected to reach $119 billion by 2015. As this ecosystem expands, customers will begin to expect more and more options for satisfying their shopping needs while on-the-go. Both e-commerce and more traditional brick-and-mortar companies will need to keep up with their consumers by ensuring that their website is usable from a mobile device.

Major brands are beginning to see tremendous growth in the percentage of their business transacted over mobile. For example, in 2010, eBay sold $2 billion worth of merchandize via its mobile channels, tripling its 2009 results. This number is expected to double to $4 billion in 2011. As recently as last month, eBay stated that it expects to process $3 billion in mobile payments via PayPal in 2011, up from $700 million in 2010.

Mobile ticketing, a subset of mobile commerce, is a growing market as well. According to Juniper Research, mobile ticketing transactions are expected to exceed $100 billion worldwide by 2012. Fandango, a leader in the mobile ticketing space, now sees 20% of ticket sales coming through mobile. In fact, 19% of the recent Harry Potter opening weekend revenue of $169 million (that’s $32 million in two days if you’re doing the math) was generated from mobile devices. Fandango’s mobile site, which was developed with the assistance of Trilibis, allows users to search for movies playing in their area in real-time and to buy tickets. In some theaters, users can even hand their phone to the ticket taker for scanning. No standing in line, and no dealing with the clerk or the kiosk.

Mobile commerce is also appealing from the consumer’s perspective. According to a study done by Google, 79% of smartphone Internet users use their smartphone to help with shopping, and 74% have purchased as a result of doing so. In addition, customers actually prefer getting information from their phone while making a purchasing decision. According to Accenture, 73% of mobile shoppers favor using their phone to take care of simple tasks in a store, while only 15% prefer interacting with an employee. That makes sense: it takes time to track down an employee to help you and wait for them to research an answer, while wait time via your phone is limited only by your typing speed.

Not all retailers are taking advantage of their users’ interest in the mobile channel. Also according to Accenture, 51% of mobile users are more likely to purchase from a retailer who has a mobile-specific site, but only 4.8% of retailers actually have one. This clearly indicates that retailers need to get on the ball before their customers lose interest and go somewhere else. So unless you want your company to go the way of Borders, who entered the e-commerce space too late with too little to offer, you’d better not just get on the ball, but start rolling it, too. Because mobile commerce is coming… and at a much faster rate than e-commerce did.

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2 Responses to “Mobile Web Advantage #2: Mobile Commerce is Seeing Explosive Growth”

  1. [...] time to turn your attention to your mobile presence. Mobile websites are the point of entry for an explosive number of consumers who go online with smartphones, iPads, and similar devices. To make your site do things like drive [...]

  2. [...] time to turn your attention to your mobile presence. Mobile websites are the point of entry for an explosive number of consumers who go online with smartphones, iPads, and similar devices. To make your site do things like drive [...]