Just as e-commerce changed the consumer landscape, m-commerce (shopping enabled or enhanced by mobile devices) promises to permanently alter how people shop and buy.
Here are facts hand-picked from the latest research to help you understand the shift to m-commerce and prepare you to develop an effective mobile strategy for your business.
Smartphones have gone mainstream, and tablets are catching up quickly. Almost half of U.S. mobile subscribers now own smartphones (Nielsen), and eMarketer expects iPad penetration in the US will nearly double from 12% of internet users in 2011 to 22% in 2013.
Mobile commerce is growing at breakneck speeds. U.S. mobile commerce sales (including travel) grew 91% in 2011 from 2010 to $6.7B and are forecasted to grow to $31B in 2015 (eMarketer).
Tablet owners really love to shop. 77% of consumers who own a tablet use their devices to shop (PriceGrabber). And tablet visitors to retail sites spend over 50% more per purchase than visitors who use smartphones and over 20% more than visitors who use desktop/laptop computers (Adobe).
Mobile shoppers tend to be younger and more affluent. 61% of US consumers who access mobile shopping content are under the age of 34, and 48% of US consumers who access mobile shopping content earn over $75,000 per year (Interactive Advertising Bureau).
Mobile shoppers prefer desktop, tablet, and mobile-optimized sites to mobile apps. In a survey sponsored by Zmags, just 4% of respondents said they prefer to shop via mobile apps (Zmags).
But many merchants aren’t prepared. 51% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from retailers with a mobile-specific website, but only 4.8% of retailers have a mobile site (Microsoft).
Most mobile shoppers use their phones to research, but many will buy. The majority of consumers find comparing prices and product research the most convenient part of mobile shopping (JiWire), but 41% of those who use their smartphones to help with shopping make a purchase directly on their device (Google)
Mobile commerce can drive in-store sales. 46% of those who use smartphones to research products make their purchases in stores (Google).
But some mobile apps can cause problems for stores. 16% of U.S. mobile shoppers used the Amazon Price Check app during the 2011 holiday season (BIGInsight).
Use these industry statistics as a starting point, but consider talking to or observing your own customers before placing any bets, either directly or with a research partner. There’s still a lot of room for testing and learning in mobile commerce.