Once upon a time, people were uncomfortable putting their credit card numbers into a computer, nevermind a cellphone.
Man, how times have changed!
Nowadays, it’s common to make purchases using anything found in your pocket except for your wallet. For those who aren’t familiar with it, this trend of making purchases with a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet is known as mobile commerce or “m-commerce.”
Only a few short years ago, m-commerce didn’t merit a section on a pie chart showing the various channels of e-commerce. In 2010, it was only 3% of the total. But at the end of last year, it had grown to approximately 11%, representing $18.6 billion in total spending. And it is now projected to reach 15% of retail e-commerce by year’s end.
As Mobile Commerce Press reports, m-commerce has seen 136% growth from last year! M-commerce conversion rates have also doubled.
The reasons for this growth are many. Almost every part of the mobile sector is influencing, and influenced by, m-commerce. Here are just a few selected factors going into the boom:
• Increased investment. Investors are funding mobile startups, including app developers, and creating new companies that drive significant growth.
• Infrastructure improvements. Mobile infrastructure improvements continue to make the smartphone experience more useful, efficient, enjoyable, and fast. Where browsing experiences were to be slow and irritating, they are now quite acceptable on many networks. Purchase processes that would have been agonizing are now simple and clean.
• Increased mobile optimization. When websites were viewed on the first mobile browsers, it wasn’t a pretty experience. Now, with savvy website owners publishing simple, mobile-optimized sites, the browsing experience has improved by leaps and bounds. Purchasing activity has followed closely behind, as technology can now finally meet pent-up demand for smooth mobile browsing and m-commerce.
• Better devices. Smartphones and tablets with more robust features are keeping users increasingly engaged and active. In fact, within the next few years, mobile traffic and activity is projected to surpass desktop/laptop traffic and activity.
• Increased saturation. 54% of adults in the U.S. own smartphones, and this percentage is only increasing. What once was a novelty is now considered a must-have item by many. As feature-rich devices continue to be offered at lower and lower prices, we can expect that smartphone saturation will grow through reaching largely untapped market segments.
• Young consumers. Almost half of young teenage smartphone owners access the Internet primarily through a mobile device. Their high comfort level with smartphones is expected to lead to further acceptance of m-commerce and long-term increased spending.