European M-Commerce Up 11x By 2017

Phone-Euro-symbol-AWestern Europeans are embracing the mobile phone as a platform for buying -- so much so that by 2017, 6.8% of online sales will be coming from devices, according to Forrester. In its first European Mobile Commerce forecast, the company projects that the €1.7 billion in mobile spending seen last year will grow elevenfold to €19.2 billion in 2017.

According to analyst and author of the report Martin Gill, this massive growth will be seen most for "easy to merchandise" categories such as DVDs, books, music and event ticketing that can take advantage of immediate inspiration to purchase or location awareness.

In his blog post peeking at the report, Gill says the most significant growth will be in southern Europe and that the practice of mobile purchasing will remain a niche e-commerce activity for some time. The figures do not include sales via tablet devices. The estimate includes goods such as magazine subscriptions, gift cards and purchases for in-store pick-up but does not include mobile-based content such as ringtones and apps or m-payments made at physical checkouts.

The number of people using phones to make e-commerce buys will expand from only 7.6 million in 2011 to 79 million by the end of the forecast period, constituting about 45% of mobile phone owners. Despite the broadening of the base for m-commerce, Forrester is not expecting a sharp increase in revenue realized per user. The average m-buyer will spend €227 annually with the platform in 2017, up from €201 in 2011.

The UK will be the leading region for m-commerce for the foreseeable future. But mobile shopping in the southern European regions will benefit from less widespread broadband coverage on the desktop, leaving countries like Spain and Italy to rely more on their smartphones for e-commerce than some other countries.

Gill notes that many European retailers have been slow to adopt mobile commerce and create more fluid user experiences. “It’s time that eBusiness executives stopped talking about mobile as something to do in the future and started enabling great, multi-touchpoint shopping experiences with mobile at the heart,” he argues.

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