M-Shopping: The Whole World View

Black Friday is a peculiarly American (pick one) obsession/ritual/malady/boondoggle. But shopping clearly is not. And the centrality of the mobile device to e-commerce is even truer in some non-U.S. economies. To wit: m-commerce site developer Mobify surveyed 19,000 shoppers around the globe to determine how much of electronic buying is going on from handsets globally. In the U.S., 15% said they have purchased items from their smartphone and 9% have done so from a tablet.

Go outside the U.S. borders, however, and the role of mobile devices as a first screen to the Internet becomes more apparent. In Mexico, 20% were using phones to make purchases, in India, the percentage was 40% and in China, 46%. Curiously, it was some of the most developed Western and Asian digital economies -- the ones presumably with the best access to multiple screens -- where we see lower m-commerce penetration. Japan shows only 9% buying by phone, Germany 12% and South Korea about even with us at 16%.

Even more promising for m-commerce is the sheer velocity of the migration of e-commerce site visits from handsets, which we might regard as a preliminary behavior to converting to m-shopping. Mobify manages over 20,000 m-commerce sites worldwide for e-commerce retailers and it sees 31% of traffic already coming from devices in the U.S. But in Brazil it is already at 40%, South Korea 34% and in Australia 47%.

As the e-commerce infrastructure comes to support seamless shopping, cart and purchase experiences across platforms, we have to assume that a fair amount of that browsing by handset converts into actual purchasing.  

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2 comments about "M-Shopping: The Whole World View".
  1. Andre Szykier from maps capital management , November 23, 2012 at 12:43 p.m.
    You are interpreting percentages in the wrong way. Mobile shopping in for example, India is high because the carrier provides a reliable link whereas web connections at home or office are notoriously antiquated with frequent power outages. That's why third and fourth world countries rely first on mobile as the most dependent way to communicate and transact business with web based computers a distant and more expensive second. The US is not backward; we just have many reliable ways to get to information and transact commerce online or through the wireless networks.
  2. Steve Smith from Mediapost , November 23, 2012 at 1:43 p.m.
    Andre I think we agree and I covered your point when I said that the developed nations with best access to multiple screens have the lower rates of m-commerce. I was making your very point in that sentence. We aren't back ward at all, just multi-screened. Even further, the reliability of multiple screens seems to mean that m-shopping actually goes on across all of the displays, even when the actual purchases tend to occur on the desktop.