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Smartphones Turn Millions More Americans into Mobile Shoppers

Number of mobile buyers will nearly triple by 2015

January 6, 2012

In 2011, US mobile commerce sales (including travel) surged 91.4%, to reach $6.7 billion. Continued strong growth will boost sales to $31 billion in 2015. More smartphone users, greater consumer comfort with mobile shopping and an increasing number of retailers launching mobile sites and apps will all play a part in propelling m-commerce sales.

“To keep up with consumer expectations, retailers are bolstering their mobile offerings,” said Jeffrey Grau, eMarketer principal analyst and author of the new report, “US Mobile Commerce Forecast: Capitalizing on Consumers’ Urgent Needs.” “Retailers were slow to react to consumer interest in mobile shopping. But now they are making great strides in launching mobile websites and apps.”

This will help US m-commerce sales grow at a compound annual rate of 55% from 2010 to 2015, including 73.1% growth expected this year.

US M-Commerce Sales, 2010-2015 (billions and % change)

In 2011 mobile shopping became synonymous with smartphone shopping. The percentage of mobile shoppers who were smartphone users jumped to 93%, from 75% in 2010. As people trade in their feature phones for smartphones they will naturally take advantage of their devices’ powerful capabilities for doing a range of mobile activities, including shopping and buying.

US Mobile Shoppers, 2010-2015

Completing a purchase via mobile is less popular, with only 26.8 million mobile users estimated to have done so in 2011, but that number too will rise quickly, to 61.8 million in 2015.

“Purchases from mobile phones still account for a tiny share of total ecommerce sales,” said Grau. “However, in some retail categories like flash sales and tickets, retailers report a much higher share of sales coming from mobile users.”

The full report, “US Mobile Commerce Forecast: Capitalizing on Consumers’ Urgent Needs,” also answers these key questions:

  • What is the outlook for mobile commerce in the US?
  • What trends are driving mobile commerce sales?
  • How does shopping behavior differ on a smartphone vs. a tablet?
  • How prepared are retailers for mobile shoppers?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

Check out today’s other article, “BeachMint Brings Commerce and Celebrity Curation to Facebook.”


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