M-Commerce Growth Triples Total Online Retail

By Rory Betteridge | 19 Feb 2015

A study released by PayPal and Ipsos earlier today puts figures on a longstanding assumption that mobile commerce is growing at a very rapid pace.

The combined PayPal/Ipsos research, which examined shopping habits of over 17,500 shoppers in Australia and overseas, revealed that m-commerce is growing at nearly three times the speed of online retail as a whole, while also giving insights into mobile shopping behaviour, entry barriers and growth markets.

The data suggests that while online retail is expected to grow to about $50 billion by 2016 (representing a rate of 10 percent), the share of that attributed to m-commerce could grow to nearly $8.8 billion – a 43 percent increase on current figures. In Australia particularly, spending via mobile is expected to lift by up to 204 percent.

“We are well and truly entering the mobile-first era,” Emma Hunt, Director of Small Business at PayPal Australia said in a press release this morning. “In Australia, one in three PayPal transactions now takes place on a mobile device and globally mobile transactions account for nearly 20 per cent of our total payment volume.”

On a global scale, m-commerce is still relatively small-time; smartphones account for only nine percent of online purchases, and tablets only five percent. Computers, by comparison, account for the remaining 85 percent of online spending.

With that said, mobile shopping is quickly becoming more prevalent. One third of Australian online shoppers surveyed had bought something with their smartphone in the past year, and nearly a quarter report buying something with a tablet. The survey suggests the adoption of m-commerce is being driven by young adults, with nearly three fifths of smartphone shoppers between 18 and 34.

The study also looked into what drove m-commerce activity; 64 percent of mobile shoppers did so through a dedicated app, and 55 percent made their purchase directly through a retailer’s webpage. Of the cross-section that had done both, 47 percent claimed to prefer shopping through an app, citing the convenience (32 percent) and speed (27 percent) of the transaction as major advantages.

Also telling is the ways mobile devices are used for retail outside of transactions; Australian smartphone owners do much of their product research on the go, with 30 percent claiming to have searched for information on products, 27 percent having used their device of choice to find a physical store or information about a business, and 23 percent having read customer reviews of products, all on their mobile device. Many smartphone users are also looking forward to new innovations in m-commerce, with many expressing a desire to try tap-and-go technology with their favourite stores, as well as order ahead with an app.

“Advanced smartphone technology and improved mobile device security are lowering barriers to widespread adoption of mobile commerce,” continued Hunt. “Biometric technology including fingerprint authentication and streamlined digital payment options like PayPal OneTouch are making it easier, safer and more convenient for users to pay with their smartphone.”

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