Commentary

Forrester Estimates E-Commerce On Smartphones Will Reach $209 Billion In 2022

Forrester’s latest U.S. mobile and tablet commerce forecast for 2017 to 2022 estimates that Americans spent $153 billion on retail products using their mobile devices in 2017.

But when consumers were asked in a survey how often they purchased physical goods on a mobile phone, 46% in 2017 said they never did -- up from 41% in 2016. About 6% said they purchased something daily -- down from 11% in 2016. Weekly purchases for each year remained flat at 10%, along with purchases at least monthly at 16 for each of the two years cited.  

Forrester analysts believe that as consumers warm up to transacting commerce on their mobile phones, that number should increase to a 13% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) during the next five years. It will contribute to half of the overall online retail sales growth by 2022.

The study suggests that smartphone retail sales will grow from $100 billion to $209 billion between 2017 and 2022 -- a 16% CAGR. 

Google estimates there are tens of millions of consumers asking their mobile phones “where can I buy.” In fact, “where can I buy” mobile searches on Google grew about 85% in the past two years.

It’s interesting to think that in the U.S. about 91 million additional smartphone buyers were added between 2012 and 2017, but it's even more fascinating to learn that Forrester expects about 53 million new smartphone shoppers during the next five years. About 82% of online buyers will purchase something through a mobile device by 2022.

Purchases on mobile phones continue to rise, but tablets have flattened, according to Forrester. Large-screen smartphones are cannibalizing tablet device ownership. It's increasing the amount spent in retail on mobile by consumers.

The average order value on desktops is $155 and $120 for mobile, but the average order value for purchases on smartphones continues to rise by 4% year-over-year. Forrester clocks desktop growth at 3% year-over-year, with the chief driver being transaction volume. Tablet retail sales should grow at a 6% growth rate in the same period. 

Forrester's online survey included 58,000 respondents in the U.S. and 6,011 respondents in Canada between the ages of 18 and 88. 

This column was previously published in the Search Insider on April 11, 2018.

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