Tablets, Smartphones Drive Mobile Commerce to Record Heights
≠Maybe 2012 was the year of mobile after all. US retail mcommerce sales shot up 81% to nearly $25 billion last year, propelled by rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones as shopping devices, according to new estimates from eMarketer.
Mobile devices accounted for 11% of total US retail ecommerce sales in 2012, eMarketer estimates, and further growth is expected to push mobile sales to a 15% share of all US retail ecommerce sales this year.
Mcommerce sales include all purchases made via smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, excluding sales of travel and event tickets.
eMarketer's mcommerce forecast reflects a confluence of three trends: first, the expanding number of smartphone shoppers whose behavior affects commerce in all channels; second, the growing number of smartphone buyers who enjoy the immediacy of purchasing through their phone and are expected to generate just over one-third of mcommerce sales this year; and third, the rapid rise in tablet shopping, which will produce the bulk of mcommerce sales over the next four years.
This year, US consumers will spend $24 billion shopping on their tablets, and that figure will nearly double by 2015. Mcommerce sales on smartphones are lower and will grow more slowly, reaching $13.44 billion this year and $24.32 billion by 2016. Purchases on other mobile devices, such as ereaders, will continue to make up a small but steady share of the mcommerce pie.
The rapid rise in mcommerce sales on tablets means that such purchases will account for 9.4% of all retail ecommerce sales this year, and 16.9% of the total by 2016. Smartphones, which initially had a lead due to earlier adoption, will contribute 5.3% of retail ecommerce sales this year, a figure that will nudge up only slightly through eMarketer's forecast period.
Recent holiday shopping season figures from several research firms demonstrate the rapid rise in mcommerce sales, and especially tablets' large contribution to the total.
eMarketer is relatively distinct in its methodology for US mobile commerce and retail ecommerce sales. The company forms its forecast through an analysis of estimates from multiple research firms; estimated mobile sales data from lead retailers; consumer shopping trends on mobile devices, smartphones and tablets; survey and traffic data from multiple research firms; and consumer smartphone and tablet adoption trends.
In this case, eMarketer analyzed more than 120 data sets from dozens of third-party research sources that track commerce sales and consumer behavior -- whose figures are each evaluated by eMarketer based on their respective methodologies, definitions and historical accuracy -- before forming its forecast.