Mobile shopping will account for 24.4% of global online shopping revenue by the end of 2017, according to new figures from ABI Research that emphasise a growing consumer reliance on smartphones for making purchases. Although ABI claims that mobile commerce accounts for a relatively small fraction of total e-commerce revenues, bringing in USD65.6bn, it does not provide any comparative figures. If total e-commerce revenues in 2011 came to USD680bn, as forecast by J.P. Morgan, that would mean mobile currently accounts for less than 10% of all online shopping revenues.
ABI attributes the current growth to the continuing boom in smartphone ownership, which in turn is fuelling better apps, platforms and services. The research firm also adds that a growing number of brick-and-mortar retailers are embracing mobile in a bid to fend off competition from popular online retailers and marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. ABI does not break down the growth by region, but notes that both developed and emerging economies are seeing rapid uptake of mobile. It says that mobile shopping reached a “tipping point” in 2011, when the market doubled to USD65.6bn.
ABI predicts that the introduction of HTML5 will drive future growth, reducing the need for costly native apps and visual search. It also suggests that technologies such as NFC and augmented reality may boost mobile commerce, although consumer uptake of both has not been particularly promising to date. Mobile payments leader PayPal claims NFC will take yearsto hit the mainstream, instead suggesting that m-commerce will be driven by streamlined services such as Square.
“M-commerce is not yet mass market, but it is delivering remarkable growth in tough economic conditions,” says ABI’s practice director John Devlin. “There remain questions, as how to best realise 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.”
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