It looks like mobile commerce is beginning to get a little respect.
A new study projects that retail mobile commerce sales this year will reach $42 billion and more than $100 billion within four years.
It’s encouraging to finally see a study that looks at mobile commerce more holistically. Many mobile studies measure only the transaction part of shopping, which generally show the balance leaning to purchases by tablets.
This study, by eMarketer, looks at mobile devices contributing to overall commerce growth in two ways.
As in most studies, they include mobile purchases. However, they also include data on consumers using their mobile devices as a shopping research tool, driving them into stores or back to the desktop where they complete a transaction.
The researchers calculate that smartphones will account for more than a third (35%) of m-commerce sales and retail sales via smartphones this year will total $15 billion, no small change.
What may be more difficult to measure over time is the overall influence of mobile on actual sales.
For example, a consumer can research a product at home on a smartphone or tablet. On the way to the store, she can be targeted with a message based on location, speed and proximity to a store and/or product.
While in the store, the consumer can use their smartphone to research a product being considered.
A sales associate can then approach them and share information via their tablet or phone.
Based on all those interactions, the consumer may decide to purchase right there at the store. They also may decide to buy later from their desktop. Or tablet. Or phone.
The question then becomes where is the retail transaction counted? Is it an online sale? A tablet sale? A smartphone sale? A retail sale?
The answer, of course, is yes.