Commentary

The 10% World of Mobile Commerce; Running in 'Easy Mode'

Samsung’s hot, new Galaxy S4 has a feature that in many ways mirrors the mobile commerce marketplace.

It’s called Easy Mode and when you switch the phone to it, the device provides large buttons to only those features that might be most useful, such as camera, phone, internet, contacts, phone and calendar.

While there are 7 billion mobile phones globally, most of the mobile commerce marketplace seems to be operating in Easy Mode.

This is one of the reasons that global mobile commerce is still in its infancy, with mobile accounting only for an estimated 15 percent of e-commerce this year.

This is partially because mobile interactions are less than friction-free, with consumers having to learn about which apps to use when, how to scan barcodes, price comparison apps, location-based offers and how to efficiently check out, to name a few.

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From the consumer’s viewpoint, only 10 percent rate their mobile commerce experience as excellent, according to a Stibo Systems-commissioned study by Red Shift Research.

For many consumers, it’s easier to live in their version of Easy Mode, using only a small portion of the power and capability residing in their hands.

While I’m quite familiar with the various studies about the magnitude of the mobile marketplace direction and its potential, there are some data points from various sources indicating that mobile commerce currently is living in around a 10 percent world.

  • 12% of U.S. consumers have used payment applications such as Google Wallet, MasterCard Pay Pass or Square Wallet. (comScore).
  • 11% prefer to download an app to research and purchase products. (Lenovo)
  • 8% of smartphone owners shopped from their phones in a given month. (Simmons)
  • 12% of smartphone owners use their phones to bank. (Experian)
  • 8% of smartphone owners scan barcodes. (Experian)
  • 10% of total tickets sales for sports event and concerts are by mobile.(Retention Science)
  • 6% of smartphone owners have used their device to make a point of sale purchase. (GfK)
  • 13% of retail point of sales will be by mobile in five years. (Javelin Strategy)
  • 12% of total online orders in the Netherlands are by mobile. (Telecompaper)

Serious mobile commerce is currently being conducted by a minority of the masses. This is the tip-of-the-iceberg time.

When those living in the Easy Mode of mobile commerce graduate into standard mode, a tidal wave is going to hit retail at every level.

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mCommerce Summit Update: Unilever, Hyatt, Walgreens, Bank of America, Foot Locker, Verizon Wireless, Western Union, Pandora, Giant Eagle, Ansible Mobile coming.  June 16-19, in Kohler, WI. Check it out here.

2 comments about "The 10% World of Mobile Commerce; Running in 'Easy Mode' ".
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  1. Pete Austin from Fresh Relevance, May 8, 2013 at 5:17 a.m.

    +1 for "Serious mobile commerce is currently being conducted by a minority of the masses", but the "tidal wave" conclusion is bizarre. If anything, less people will use "hard mode" as time goes by. Serious mobile commence, like extreme couponing, will still be a minority activity in 20 years, because who has time for this stuff when all they want is to buy a few groceries?

  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin, May 8, 2013 at 9:45 a.m.

    The tidal wave view is based on industry growth projections, increase in tablet and smartphone penetration and mostly because merchants and brands are working on methods to provide value to mobile shoppers. The hard mode to which you refer Pete, ultimately will likely become easier to use rather than the easy mode phone analogy.

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