M-Commerce to Reach a Quarter of Global E-Commerce by 2017

Following on from recent trends, a new research report projects that the m-commerce market can be expected to account for almost a quarter of overall e-commerce by the end of 2017. Last year, the mobile commerce market doubled in size to US$65.6 billion, driving projections skyward.

ABI Research‘s mobile online commerce report (part of ABI Research’s Mobile Money and Shopping Research Service) points to the rate of smartphone adoption in mature and developing markets as the primary driver behind market growth. A secondary driver is identified as coming from traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers that are beginning to integrate multichannel strategies.

M-commerce still only makes up a relatively small percentage of the e-commerce market, but it is growing at a far quicker pace. The market reached a tipping point some time last year, as more retailers made the move from standalone apps and storefronts to a more integrated offering across various mobile channels.

ABI Practice Director John Devlin says that, “M-commerce is not yet mass market, but it is delivering remarkable growth in tough economic conditions. There remain questions, as how to best realize the value and ROI of m-commerce but innovative retailers with the resources to invest in the development of their mobile portfolio have clearly identified this as the way forward.”

Looking forward, the introduction of HTML5, visual search, NFC and augmented reality capabilities will increase the use of mobile phones in bricks-and-mortar stores. While this means the potential for ‘showrooming’ is high, retailers are also able to turn this consumer behaviour to their advantaged, as recently demonstrated by US outdoor gear and apparel retailer Moosejaw.

“Mobile is now transitioning from what was initially viewed by many as a retail experiment to a viable component of a full-blown multichannel offering,” says Devlin. “Consumer awareness has been boosted by the “Groupon effect” and now everyone wants a bargain. This is further exacerbated by the need in the retail sector to a) differentiate from the competition, b) be seen to be offering value, and c) an enhanced need to increase consumer engagement and interaction.  Mobile helps to fulfill all of these criteria.”

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