How Important Is M-Commerce?


The answer is: very.

The concept of mobile commerce (m-Commerce) is simple: it’s when people use their mobile phones to make purchases or payments. It’s essentially an extension of e-Commerce, only you have to consider how your site is geared towards an increasingly mobile audience.

M-Commerce has been steadily growing over the past few years and if forecasts are to be believed, the upward trend is about to become exponential. InMobi recently released the results of a Mobile Media Consumption report that revealed some interesting statistics for m-Commerce in the US and UK.

M-Commerce by the numbers
In the fourth quarter of 2011 the m-Commerce consumption in the US stood at 38% while it was 54% in the UK. In the second quarter of 2012, consumption in the US went up to 59% and in the UK it went up to 63%. The report estimates that by the fourth quarter of 2012, consumption in the US will reach 65% while the US is expected to reach 67%.

From these stats we can see that the UK pips the US in the m-Commerce stakes. But just how valuable is it?

According to an article on Computer Business Review, m-Commerce is expected to generate $17.8 billion for high street retailers in 2012. That represents a 23% growth in sales from 2011.

The statistics come from Netsuite, which adds that 70% of high street retailers are on the mobile app bandwagon and that another 10% will join the party over the next year. Eighty per cent of retailers! That’s a lot.

On the other hand, Internet Retailer recent published some figures that show the 2012 m-Commerce market in the US is estimated to reach $21 billion, which puts the UK in the shade. That’s roughly $10.5 billion more than it was in 2011. Basically, m-Commerce sales doubled.

But …
The trouble is that while retailers in the UK are doing everything they can to be mobile friendly, a disappointingly large percentage of US sites are not.

The biggest (and the most common) complaint that mobile users have is that not enough sites have a mobile version that is quick and easy to load. Non-mobile orientated sites chew up data bundles, take forever to load and don’t always present well on small screens. They can be difficult to navigate and if there is one thing mobile users don’t want it’s a site that makes it difficult for them to find what they want.

What can we learn from this?
If the US m-Commerce market is worth $21 billion already, imagine what it could be if more retailers made the effort to actually go mobile. If the market doubled within one year, imagine the phenomenal growth if more companies created mobile apps.

UK retailers have taken the predictions about m-Commerce growth to heart, US retailers should follow suit.

This guest post was written by Sandy Cosser on behalf of Elemental Web Solutions, which specialises in e-Commerce and mobile site application development.

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