Mobile is the Hot Medium For Commerce

Shoppers spent well over $30 billion online over this past holiday season and a large percentage of that was done via mobile devices. Often consumers will finalize online purchases via their desktop or laptop computer, but a rapidly expanding number are using mobile applications or mobile web sites while in-store and those shoppers are driving the future of mobile application commerce.

New surveys from GfKRoper and SapientNitro state that a whopping 80% of smartphone owners used their mobile devices while shopping during the 2012 holiday season.  This is very solid growth for mobile shopping when compared to the past.

Other findings from these surveys include: 80% of mobile users accessed mobile applications or websites to research or browse products (15% higher than last year), 74% of mobile users completed at least one purchase via mobile device over the holidays (19% higher than the previous year) and  56% of mobile users looked to customer reviews and ratings to make a purchase decisions  (16% higher than last year).

Motorola’s research suggests that younger shoppers are the most likely to use mobile devices for shopping and that only about a third of older consumers use mobile devices to shop. Their survey data indicates some of the reason behind the growth of mobile applications usage for commerce, suggesting that users often feel that they have a better chance of finding reliable information via mobile app or mobile web site than via retail employees.

Recently comScore release survey data that smartphones are now used by 55% of mobile users in Europe and by 52% of people in the United States. This works out to be over 121 million users and about half of those people reported using mobile browsers or downloading apps for a formidable market that is growing on a daily basis.

The State of Mobile

Mobile has changed the way consumers shop this past year and will have a huge impact in 2013, as even more consumers switch to smart phones and take advantage of mobile applications.

TechBargains states in a recent survey that most of the shoppers that are using mobile apps while shopping [90%] are checking prices and looking for digital coupons while they are in the store.  Compared to two years ago, TechBargains states that then just over half of them  [58%] used mobile applications to do so, while a year ago 73% are doing so. Additionally it is important to note that just about 80% are using tablets to complete purchases.

Key to note from their survey is that 83% of iPad owners make mobile purchases, 76% of iPhone owners make mobile purchases and 71% of Android owners do. Additionally 73% of tablet owners will use their device to do product research and 71% of tablet owners will utilize their devices to get stock information.

This shows a definite trend that consumers are more apt to buy products from Android devices than they were in the past, closing the gap with Apple devices.

What trends should you watch for or be working into your app development project? Here are the big ones that we think you should be keeping an eye on:

With the success of Siri we will see is mobile application developers pushing more voice recognition features in the applications for various mobile devices. Voice capabilities are starting to work their way into  more and more iPhone apps and Android apps and they could be a big item in 2013 and really change the face of the mobile application market. With voice recognition you can really streamline tasks and this is a key area to look towards as a next step in mobile integration.

Another key area to look at is ways that you can leverage data to create a more relevant user experience. The opportunity to collect the data is available, are you planning to collect an utilize it? By doing so you will be able to create better user experiences and deliver better opportunities to advertisers to maximize their ad spend value.

Mobile Shopping to Skyrocket over 50% in Next 24 Months

Today Juniper Research issued an important new white paper stating that the number of consumers purchasing physical goods remotely via their mobile handsets is expected to increase by nearly 50% over the next two years.

The report goes on to state that numbers will go up to to 580 million purchasers by the end of 2014, up from 393 million this year, further stating that this is due to greater consumer confidence in the mobile device as both a browsing and payment tool. It also shows the increasing importance of mobile as an eCommerce channel, with a large up-shift in mobile as a proportion of online transactions.

The report also states that the average size of mobile purchases would continue to rise, driven by larger volumes of regular, high-value transactions.

Are businesses ready to capitalize on these trends?

According to Juniper Research in the same report, the growth in this area will be constrained by the fact that a majority of retailer sites are not properly optimized for mobile browsing or purchasing. According to Dr. Windsor Holden, “Consumers increasingly expect to be able to buy their products and services via their smartphones and tablets. Companies which do not offer this option face falling behind their competitors.”

There is clearly enormous opportunities for businesses that are willing to maximize there exposure to the market place with properly built mobile applications for both the iPhone and Android platforms as well as mobile web friendly web sites.

Other key numbers

Some of the other numbers that are mentioned in the report are simply staggering. The total annual transaction values from remotely purchased digital and physical goods will hit $730 billion within five years. And we are seeing a fast moving trend of eCommerce moving to smartphones and tablets where the average tablet transaction size already exceed those of desktop and laptop computers. Clearly the purchasing isn’t just a migration, but rather consumers are increasing in their level of confidence for purchasing remotely overall.

If you don’t have mobile applications or at a minimum a mobile friendly web site for your business, now it clearly the time to do so.

If you would like to read all the details in Juniper Research’s fascinating new report, you can download it here.