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Mobile Commerce Trends Every Business Owner Needs To Know

By Rick Whittington

The proliferation of tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices is changing the way we research, evaluate and buy products and services online. Mobile-ready is no longer optional. Online retailers that ignore their mobile customers risk losing business–big time. The mobile phenomenon isn’t isolated to e-commerce, either. This shift in consumer behavior represents a bigger trend that all business owners must face head-on. See what’s ahead for mobile and e-commerce in 2012 and beyond, and see why mobile matters no matter what kind of business you run.

Mobile Commerce Trends and Statistics

E-Commerce: Going Strong

People like to shop online, and it shows. In the US, retail e-commerce sales have seen nice, steady growth. Retail e-commerce sales increased close to 4x, from $42 billion in 2002 to $162 billion last year.

Retail E-commerce Sales in the US, 2002 – 2011 ($ Billions)

Bar graph showing growth of ecommerce sales

Source: Statista

Mobile Devices: Growing Use & Impact

The use of mobile devices is growing. Fast. As Mashable reports:

“There are almost 120 million smartphone users in the U.S. right now [in 2012], and about half as many tablet users. By 2014, those numbers are expected to grow to over 150 million and almost 90 million, respectively.” 

The growing smartphone and tablet population will definitely have an impact on online shopping. According to online shopping platform Shopify, mobile devices will account for 40% of all e-commerce traffic by September 2013. This is up from just 4% in September 2011. By contract, PC’s will account for less traffic, dropping from almost 100% to 60% of traffic.

Traffic Projections for Mobile Devices and PC’s

Mobile traffic projections

Source: Shopify

Besides making purchases or completing a payment, smartphone and tablet owners also use their devices to do research (e.g., read reviews) and compare pricing.

Activities Completed on a Smartphone or Tablet

Activities completed on a smartphone or tablet

Source: Statista

Mobile Commerce Sales: Dramatically Increasing

M-commerce sales are growing exponentially, too. In 2010, revenue from mobile commerce was just $3 billion. Today, that total has reached $10 billion. In just a few years, mobile commerce revenue is expected to reach $31 billion (globally, projections come to $119 billion by 2015).

Projected Mobile Commerce Revenue in the US ($ Billions)

Graph of project mobile sales

Source: Statista

Mobile Customers: Dangerous To Ignore

Mobile shoppers are engaged and valuable. Tablet users make a purchase at close to the same rate as users on a PC.

Online Shopping Conversion Rates By Device

Conversion rates for smartphones, tablets and PC's

Source: Mashable

And, on average, purchases made on a tablet are of higher value than a purchase made using a PC. Not far behind are purchases made on smartphones; smartphone users also have a healthy average order value.

Average Order Value By Device

Average order value

Source: Mashable

Implications For Retailers–And All Business Owners

It’s clear that mobile poses a huge business opportunity. But in spite of this evidence, most retailers have not taken the steps to become a contender in the mobile commerce arena. Shopify cites research from Forrester, which shows that 71% of retailers provide online experiences that are not mobile-friendly.

Percent of Retailers That Are Mobile-Ready

Percent of retailers that are mobile-ready

Source: Shopify

E-commerce isn’t the only niche plagued by this problem. Small businesses are lagging, too. In a survey of 1,972 small business owners and employees, Constant Contact found that:

“One platform that small businesses have not yet incorporated into their integrated marketing program is mobile. A full 72 percent of respondents report that they don’t incorporate mobile into their marketing campaigns, and only 13 perent have created a mobile-friendly website.” 

These numbers are staggering, and fly in the face of recent research that shows that we live in a multi-screen world. Consider the following stats, and ask yourself why wouldn’t you include mobile in your online marketing strategy.

Our Advice: Go Mobile, or Go Home

The business owner that adopts a mobile mindset will be the winner at the end of the day. By investing in a mobile website or app, or creating a responsive website design that scales to fit different device screens, you can capitalize on the opportunity at hand and truly differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Has your website seen a rise in mobile traffic? What are you doing to optimize your website for mobile? Are you eager to get mobile-ready? Leave a comment or get in touch; we’d love to help you leverage mobile in your online marketing strategy! 

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