Industry retailers are embracing the mobile platform like never before. Major companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Sears, Ralph Lauren, Galeries Lafayette, Amazon, Urban Outfitters, SVC, Yoox, CVS and Etsy are offering shopping through Web-enabled mobile phones. Many more mobile commerce launches are expected in the coming year.
By Christmas next year, shopping on the move, while waiting on line at the grocery store, hiking on the Appalachian trail or traveling through Franceâ€”wherever mobile reception is availableâ€”might become as ordinary as online shopping is today. And all this is being possible by the explosion in the number of people using the latest mobile phone technology.
People are starting to realize the massive potential and utility of their mobile devices. The massive success of the Apple App Store, and the recent introduction of the Android Marketplace and Blackberry App Store, clearly indicates that users are becoming ever more comfortable with mobile applications. According to Nielsen, there are 40 million people in the United States alone who are accessing email through their mobile devices.
As smartphones become an integral part of everyone’s lives, especially the younger generation, mobile shopping will finally become the norm rather than the exception. Smartphones with Web-browsing capabilities comprise about 10% of the US mobile phone market. About 20% of cell phones shipped in the United States last year were smartphones. Smartphone sales are expected to increase this year, even as overall mobile phone sales decrease to some extent.
Mobile shopping is part of a larger trend. With a Web-enabled smartphone, it is now possible to do almost anything that can be done on a desktop computer. Naturally, eCommerce is being extended to the mobile platform. Forrester Research’s Principal Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru, author of The Emerging Opportunity In Mobile Commerce report says, “From the retailer standpoint, this will definitely be the next big thing. People will say, ‘I’ll buy it on the way home.’ It has a time-shifting and place-shifting capability.” The same report shows that more than 50% of online shoppers own a Web-enabled mobile phone, and 14% of them have used it for shopping. 5% of mobile buyers purchased apparel.
The mCommerce market is still in its infancy, but poised for major growth in the coming days. Compared to online and brick-and-mortar stores, traffic and purchases from smartphone is small, at about 2% of online sales. But as more retailers offer mobile capability, and with the introduction of innovative mobile commerce applications, mCommerce is expected to grow rapidly in the next few months. As customers go increasingly mobile, retailers will continue to push mobile commerce… and we’ll soon see many other brands, big and small, join Victoria’s Secret and Amazon on our mobile phones.
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