The number of shoppers using their mobile device to make purchases will hit 580 million globally by the end of 2014, up from 393million this year, as the majority of consumers switch to smartphones and grow more comfortable with making purchases on their devices. According to a new report from Juniper, the total value of sales will also hit USD730billion within the next five years, in keeping with Juniper's previous forecast. This means that mobile will still be a relatively niche retail channel even in a couple of years, but more significant is its rate of growth, StrategyEye reports. The number of consumers making physical goods purchases via mobile will rise 50% in two years, as content browsing and payment becomes easier and more secure.
While Juniper is optimistic for the future of mobile for retailers, its growth is not keeping up with the penetration of smartphones globally. Figures for the end of 2011 show that global smartphone penetration lays anywhere between 10% and 30%, according to figures from TomiAhonen Consulting and separate research from VisionMobile. In countries such as the US and UK, penetration has surpassed 50% of the population. Given this scale, shopping seems relatively low on the list of consumer activities on mobile.
Juniper attributes to continued security fears - even as payment mechanisms improve - and the dearth of mobile-optimised e-commerce sites.
"Consumers increasingly expect to be able to buy their products and services via their smartphones and tablets. Companies which do not offer this option face falling behind their competitors," said Dr Windsor Holden, the author of the report.
Separate figures from Google shows that mobile accounts for 15% of all retail-related search queries, with the firm's UK mobile ad chief, Ian Carrington, stating that more than three-quarters of UK businesses do not have mobile-optimised sites. This, he says, equates to retailers turning away a day's worth of business.
"The 23% of businesses in the UK that have mobile websites understand what consumers want," he says. "But 77% of businesses don't. And those 77% are effectively shutting their business every Tuesday, because if you haven't got an optimised site you are missing all those mobile queries. 19% of travel queries happen on mobile and essentially for those 19% of queries you are saying ‘no, we don't want your business'."