Summary: The value of mcommerce transactions conducted via mobile handsets and tablets will exceed $3.2 trillion by 2017, according to new research.
Businesses investing in mcommerce technology will be able to take advantage of a significant increase in popularity for this sales channel that is anticipated to take place within the next half-decade.
A newly-published report from Juniper Research has revealed that the value of mcommerce transactions conducted via mobile handsets and tablets is expected to exceed $3.2 trillion (£2.08 trillion) by 2017, representing a substantial rise on the $1.5 trillion figure for this year.
According to the analysis, a number of key global industries – including the retail, airline and financial sectors – are beginning to understand and emphasise the importance of the mobile channel as a potentially lucrative engagement, delivery and payment mechanism.
Important developments driving this adoption forward include Visa and MasterCard’s efforts to achieve near-field communication (NFC) certification and the wider e-ticketing initiatives being adopted by airline companies.
Mobile devices are also becoming increasingly popular for bill payment, as reflected by the fact that the mobile banking sector is expected to account for the majority share of transaction values over the next five years.
Meanwhile, the introduction of mobile wallet services is helping to provide first-time financial access in many emerging markets where large proportions of the population do not have bank accounts, with partnerships between OTT storefronts and network operators in these regions helping to further expand the digital economy.
However, the Juniper Research study also noted that a number of potential barriers still need to be overcome if the burgeoning growth of the mcommerce channel is to achieve its maximum potential.
Report author Dr Windsor Holden said: “A significant minority of retailers have yet to optimise their sites for mobile. Unless retailers ensure a seamless, user-friendly mobile shopping experience, they will fall behind competitors who are already using mobile channels to enhance customer relationships.”
Indeed, the fact that total financial transactions exceeded $4.4 quadrillion in the US alone in 2012 shows that mcommerce remains a relatively niche channel when put in context.
The findings of this new report echo those of a Gartner study earlier this month, which showed that worldwide mobile payment transaction values are set to reach $235.4 billion in 2013.
Although transaction volumes and values will continue grow at an average 35% rate between 2012 and 2017 – resulting in a market worth $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017 – these predictions represented a downward revision from previous figures, due to lower-than-expected growth rates in North America and Africa.
Impediments to mainstream adoption of mcommerce include disappointing adoption of NFC technology in all markets last year – with high-profile services such as Google Wallet and Isis struggling to gain traction – and the persistent failure of businesses to properly optimise purchasing experiences for mobile customers.
People continue to spend less using mobile devices than via online eCommerce services and at retail outlets, a trend that is likely to continue until retailers embrace the mobile shopping channel in a more strategically focused manner.
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