Mobile transactions to surpass USD730 billion by 2017

'Couch commerce'

Mobile transactions will surpass USD730 billion by 2017, as consumers become used to buying goods and services not only from online sites such as Amazon, but from physical retailers such as Domino’s and Argos via their devices, StrategyEye reports. The estimate comes from Juniper, which forecasts that the value of transactions taking place via mobile will rise through a combination of more “real world” purchases taking place on tablets and smartphones, plus consumers switching their online shopping habits from laptops and desktops.

According to Juniper, the phenomenon of ‘couch commerce’ is driving this preference for mobile, with consumers increasingly browsing mobile devices for goods or services while doing other things such as watching TV. The research firm predicts that mobile will account for as much as 30% of all e-commerce within the next five years, though it will comprise just a small chunk of the overall retail market, which is estimated to be worth USD16 trillion currently.

The research comes as a warning bell to offline and online retailers alike, many of which are struggling to embrace mobile. Google’s UK director of mobile and social advertising strategy, Ian Carrington, claims that just 23% of UK businesses have mobile-friendly sites, effectively “shutting their businesses” for the equivalent of one working day as consumers browsing for goods and services on the web turn elsewhere. According to Google, mobile retail is already a relatively untapped opportunity in 2012, with 15% of retail search queries coming from mobile.

The concept of couch commerce also suggests a potential revenue stream for the numerous companies looking to crack the so-called second screen trend, with users increasingly browsing generally on their laptops, mobiles or tablets while watching TV, often seeking supplementary content. Red Bee Media CTO, Steve Plunkett, suggests that second screen apps have potential as retail platforms. eBay has already launched a ‘Watch with eBay’ app that allows iPad users to buy items directly related to the programme they are watching.

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