Commentary

Mobile Commerce Transactions Heading to 195 Billion

While holiday mobile sales numbers continue to flood the market, much of the coming exponential growth in mobile commerce may not be highly visible.

Beyond shopping, mobile commerce comprises other activities, including banking, mobile payments, couponing, money transfer and ticketing.

Collectively, those mobile activities add up to a lot and are rising rapidly, based on a new global study.

This year, there will be 72 billion mobile commerce transactions from mobile phones and tablets and that number will grow to 195 billion within five years, according to Juniper Research.

The highest growth rates will be in NFC (Near Field Communication), largely impacted by the introduction of Apple Pay, according to the Mobile Commerce Markets forecast.

However, the largest volume of transactions will occur in the digital goods sector, driven by a surge in micropayments for in-app purchases. Most of those purchases will not be seen and millions of small transactions can happen continually.

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Mobile ticketing is another area highlighted in the report, noting that one service, MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) launched its mTicket that accounted for 15% of all ticket sales within nine months of launch.

One of the most obvious explanations for the coming commerce growth is the mass adoption of smartphones. Global smartphone shipments rose from about 120 million in 2007, the year of the iPhone introduction, to more than 970 million last year, according to Juniper.

In most West European markets, smartphones account for more than 50% of mobile users, projected to reach 83% both there and in North America within three years, based on the report.

All of the mobile transactions projected are likely to translate into many dollars.

The average order value via a mobile device often reaches or passes $100, based on numerous studies. That added to the projected growth in mobile micropayments makes the size of mobile commerce look today relatively small.

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