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Mcommerce's Rapid Growth Is Primarily Coming from Smartphones

Retail mcommerce sales in the US will total $123.13 billion in 2016

May 4, 2016

Mobile commerce had a breakthrough year in 2015. Smartphone retail mcommerce sales in the US nearly doubled, driven by larger screens, smoother buying experiences, better mobile search and context-driven discovery. The same trend should continue throughout 2016, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “US Mobile Commerce Update 201: Behind the Rapid Growth.”

US Retail Mcommerce Sales, 2014-2020

eMarketer expects US retail mcommerce sales will reach $123.13 billion in 2016, a 39.1% increase over 2015 and more than double the amount in 2014. As a result of this rapid growth, mcommerce will account for just under one-third of retail ecommerce sales and 2.6% of total retail this year.

The bulk of this growth is happening on smartphones. Smartphone retail mcommerce in the US nearly doubled in 2015 to $39.40 billion, a 95.8% year-over-year increase. Although the growth rate will slow down to 49.9% this year, absolute growth will be roughly the same: nearly $20 billion additional sales.

The experiences of ecommerce executives who spoke with eMarketer reflected this trend. “The trajectory that we’ve seen over the last year was fundamentally different than in other years,” said Prama Bhatt, vice president of digital and ecommerce at beauty products chain Ulta Beauty.

Bob Sherwin, senior director of acquisition at ecommerce furniture company Wayfair, reported a similar pattern. “Over the past year we’ve seen consumers’ willingness to purchase on mobile increase a lot, to the point where the share of transactions taking place on the smartphone has doubled since late 2014.”

By 2020, smartphones will capture $129.44 billion of all retail mcommerce outlays in the US, a growth rate of 18.3%.

US Tablet Retail Mcommerce Sales, 2014-2020 (billions, % change and % of total retail mcommerce sales)

Tablets retain the majority of mcommerce sales, albeit barely, at 50.6% in 2016. Although tablets’ growth rate will be a still-robust 30.7%, it will not be fast enough to keep up with smartphones’ growth. By the end of 2017, smartphones will account for half of all retail mcommerce sales, surpassing that of tablets for the first time.

“Tablets are still growing but at a lesser extent than we’ve seen in the past,” said Marissa Tarleton, CMO of North America at digital coupon marketplace RetailMeNot. “As we partner with our retailers, we’re optimizing for smartphones.” Even so, tablet commerce sales should continue to grow by double digits over the next four years and surpass $100 billion in 2020.

eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “US Mobile Commerce Update 201: Behind the Rapid Growth.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.


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