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M-commerce is here to stay

April 3, 2015

Retailers and technology companies are aware that e-commerce is carried, in part, on the wings of mobile devices. Increasingly, consumers use their smartphones and tablets as the primary way of accessing the Internet. Additionally, many users often scroll through online catalogs and engage in myriad other Internet-related activities using mobile devices.

Retailers and technology companies are aware that e-commerce is carried, in part, on the wings of mobile devices. Increasingly, consumers use their smartphones and tablets as the primary way of accessing the Internet. Additionally, many users often scroll through online catalogs and engage in myriad other Internet-related activities using mobile devices. Because they are portable, easy to use and widespread, it has become easier than ever to use a smartphone for research and e-commerce purchasing. 

M-commerce is popular with a large percentage of consumers
PYMNTS reported that young Internet users are largely responsible for the growth witnessed in mobile commerce. According to a report from Global Web Index, approximately 40 percent of consumers around the world between the ages of 16 and 24 use a mobile device to shop online every month. In comparison, 36 percent of all adults use their mobile devices for online shopping, signaling a significant variance in generational behavior.

As per the GWI survey, which used rolling interviews over the course of a year, the m-commerce activities of 40,000 users were analyzed. People born after 1980, often referred to as millennials, were the most active group when it came to mobile shopping. Interestingly, North American consumers were not the heaviest users, with only 20 percent making an m-commerce purchase in the last month. In Europe, 21 percent of consumers used their phone for shopping, 26 percent in the Middle East and Africa, and 27 percent in Latin America. Amazingly, in the Asia Pacific region, that number was 46 percent.

American consumers love their phones
While Americans may not be the most active m-commerce shoppers in the world, ABC news explained that Americans are more attached to their smartphones than ever. A Pew Research Center study found that of the 2,000 people questioned about their mobile device usage, approximately two-thirds were using smartphones. Perhaps the most important finding is that 7 percent of users are smartphone dependent – using their phone as the primary means of accessing the Internet. That number is significant considering it would have been close to zero just a decade ago.

M-commerce is competing with traditional e-commerce
PYMNTs discussed how mobile commerce continues to grow very quickly. One-tenth of shoppers using a mobile device don’t even even bother with other devices to make purchases. That means the vast majority – 90 percent – of shoppers use their mobile devices in addition to another device, like a laptop or desktop PC.

It would be a good idea for small businesses to upgrade their point-of-sale systems and e-commerce catalogs to make sure they are smartphone-compatible. With the m-commerce trend gaining steam, it would be unfortunate to miss out on the opportunities presented. Not only should websites format viewing settings for smaller screens, but retailers should move to accept mobile payments in-store as well. Smartphones are not going away anytime soon, so investment in new equipment and beefing up online content will pay off.

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