Mobile penetration has grown rapidly, but mobile commerce is where some truly eye-popping figures can be found. In Internet Retailer’s 2014 Mobile 500 study, 2013 mobile sales for the 500 largest retailers around the world increased by 71% over the same period in 2012, reaching $30.5 billion (up from $17.8 billion). Consider this stat for a moment. A growth rate of 71% for mobile retail commerce is significantly higher than the growth rate for mobile phone penetration. We can draw two conclusions here: First, more companies are making their wares available to sell via mobile channels. And second, consumers are becoming more comfortable making mobile purchases. Indeed, for many retailers, mobile is not only their biggest growth engine, it’s becoming their biggest segment of sales, period.
In fact, we can already see mobile commerce behaviors becoming preeminent if we look at shopping traffic patterns. A 2013 study from Shop.org, The Partnering Group, and comScore revealed that 55% of the time spent on retailers’ websites was from mobile devices, compared to 45% from traditional computers.5 Clearly, while actual mobile sales are a significant driver for commerce, mobile shopping is even more important.
Finally, it is worth noting this stat, from Nielsen, which shows that 72% of smart-phone shoppers who make a purchase on their device do so at home, not “out and about.” 6 This is an important point when putting what we think of as mobile commerce into perspective. What the smartphone and other mobile Internet devices enable is more than just “out of home” commerce. What mobile technology makes possible is commerce wherever, and whenever, the buyer deems appropriate.