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Record Retail Sales on Smartphones, Tablets Take Greater Ecommerce Share

Tablet buyers grow sales at fastest pace

January 10, 2013 | Retail & Ecommerce

Mobile devices have become a key component of the digital shopping landscape, with both smartphones and tablets contributing higher levels of ecommerce sales as more consumers adopt the devices and become comfortable shopping on them.

Last year, eMarketer estimates, US retail mcommerce sales shot up 81% to nearly $25 billion. This year, a further increase of 55.7% in sales is expected, and mobile sales will account for 15% of all retail ecommerce. Mcommerce sales include all purchases made via smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, excluding sales of travel and event tickets.

US Retail Mcommerce Sales, 2011-2016 (billions, % change and % of retail ecommerce)

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 roughly 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.

US Retail Mcommerce Sales, by Device, 2011-2016 (billions and % change)

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.

US Retail Mcommerce Sales as a Percent of Retail Ecommerce Sales, by Device, 2011-2016

Holiday shopping season figures from several research firms demonstrate the rapid rise in mcommerce sales, and especially tablets’ large contribution to the total.

Comparative Estimates: Holiday Mcommerce Sales Share, by Device, 2011 & 2012 (% of total holiday retail ecommerce sales)

eMarketer forms its estimates of mcommerce sales on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices based on the analysis of estimates from other research firms; estimated mobile sales data from lead retailers; and consumer shopping trends through mobile devices, smartphones and tablets.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Can Car Buying Ever Go Digital?” and “Connected Youth Drive Digital Behaviors in the Middle East and North Africa



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