Just about every aspect of desktop migration to devices is accelerating to a pace that many of us couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. ABI Research is now projecting that by the close of 2017, 24.4% of e-commerce will be m-commerce.
The striking estimates are based on what the company calls a “spectacular” doubling of worldwide m-commerce to $65.6 billion in 2011 alone. Rapid adoption of smartphones is driving the consumer side of the equation as developing countries join more mature markets in moving directly to more advanced devices.
On the supply side, retailers are embracing multichannel approaches to their customers in order to defend against e-retailers moving more aggressively into physical retail environments via shopping apps and evolved m-commerce models of their own.
“Mobile is now transitioning from what was initially viewed by many as a retail experiment to a viable component of a full-blown multichannel offering,” says ABI Practice Director John Devlin.
A confluence of forces is helping to fuel this growth as m-commerce moved past a significant tipping point in 2011, according to ABI. The rise of the app store gave consumers sophisticated tools for researching and purchasing a wider range of goods by devices and with multiple payment models. Devlin labels a new consumer phenomenon the “Groupon effect,” where consumers expect a bargain.
Retailers, struggling to differentiate themselves in the market and prove their added value and more deeply engage consumers are finding that the mobile platforms address all of these market needs.
Devlin believes that while apps helped drive the early stages of the m-commerce market, we will see technologies like visual search, HTML5, near-field communications (NFC) and augmented reality increasingly play a role in mobile commerce.