The migration of online buying to mobile is not only growing but also headed to a dominant position.
Based on a new forecast, the act of buying something online via mobile will be the majority (54%) way the action occurs within four years.
Total transactions from mobile devices are projected to reach $293 billion by 2018, according to the Forrester forecast.
Smartphones are expected to account for $74 billion of that with $219 billion coming from tablets, consistent with numerous studies that show tablets as a much larger transaction device over smartphones.
Teens and college students are using their tablets as PC replacements compared to working adults who rarely use their tablets as PC replacements, according to a recent study by Flurry Analytics.
Measuring the source of the actual purchase transaction is a consistent barometer to track over time one aspect of the mobile purchase cycle. Various studies continue to clearly show its continuing growth.
However, the actual transaction is only one part of the digital shopping journey with mobile influencing the transactions in multiple ways before, during and after the transaction.
There sometimes is understandable confusion around mobile commerce, with some people thinking it refers to mobile payments or otherwise paying via a mobile device and others viewing it as just buying anything from a phone.
There really are different levels of what might be considered mobile commerce.
Buying something online using a mobile phone or tablet is really not much different from e-commerce, since the phone is really just being used as a PC, albeit with a smaller screen.
That is not transformative.
Leveraging the inherent power and capabilities of mobile devices to transform the shopping experience is mobile commerce.
Using a smartphone to research products before leaving home, receiving requested push notifications while in transit, getting offers based on proximity to desired stores or products, scanning products in aisle for real-time price checks and comparisons, sharing a photo on social media or with friends for pre-purchase input, tapping into smartphone loyalty rewards, checking digital coupons within a smartphone shopping list, checking in to receive additional loyalty points, checking the app to see what kind of printer cartridge you last bought, finding stores that have the product you want in inventory right now and ordering from a phone for same-day store pickup do not involve the transaction.
That is all part of the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle. And it is relatively invisible in the tracking of mobile transactions.