From O20 – Mobile commerce makes impact in worldwide retail

All eyes are on mobile commerce as data from the 2015 Mobile 500 report demonstrates its unprecedented growth in worldwide retail figures.

There may have been umpteen predictions about the impact and importance of mobile commerce but its quantum leap over the past year has taken even the experts by surprise.

Findings from Internet Retailer’s Mobile 500 report show an estimated 80% jump in sales by the world’s top 500 mobile commerce merchants — from US$47 billion in 2013 to US$84 billion last year.

In addition, mobile commerce now accounts for 23% of e-tailing sales of the 366 US retailers in the Mobile 500 guide, compared with 11% two years ago.

The 2015 Mobile 500 ranks and analyses the 500 largest mobile commerce retailers worldwide based on their expected 2014 mobile sales.

Just as significant is the fact that although US companies such as Amazon and Apple Inc continue to dominate the Mobile 500 list, more overseas players are emerging — especially from China. And for the first time in the history of the Mobile 500 rankings, a Chinese mass merchant Web-only retailer is in the No.3 spot, showing China’s growing influence in the world of e-tailing.

Overall, the 2015 Mobile 500 has 134 overseas retailers — with an estimated US$25 billion in e-commerce sales by end-2014, up 96% from US$13 billion in 2013.

China — the world’s largest national e-commerce market — tied for third place with France in terms of countries with the most retailers represented in the 2015 rankings.

Industry experts have been envisioning a world of multi-device shoppers — people browsing on the smartphones and tablets and buying from the desktop. But what is happening now is that shoppers are increasingly transitioning to mobile commerce. The largest growth area in shopping and on the Web is mobile-only customers.

The 2015 Mobile 500 estimates that 59% of 2014 m-commerce sales will have come from tablets and 41% from smartphones. Another report — by comScore Inc — reveals that almost 20% of online shoppers only use smartphones and tablets, never desktop computers.

So, while retailers in the past may have considered versions of their website for viewing on a smartphone or tablet as “a nice to have” channel, today it is an absolute must. More than 60% of US consumers’ time spent online with retailers takes place on a mobile device. That is a huge growth potential for progressive sellers.

As data from the 2015 Mobile 500 shows, every company must be mobile-first today because smartphones and tablets are clearly central to Web retailing and will be the main driving forces for growth in future.

Retailer apps are the fastest-growing segment of mobile commerce.

Retailer apps are the fastest-growing segment of mobile commerce.

Retailer apps are the fastest-growing segment of mobile commerce. According to Mobile 500, 42% of 2014 mobile sales by the Mobile 500 Web merchants are estimated to have come from mobile apps.

Of the 500 companies, 262 Web merchants provide more than 600 apps, up from 229 merchants with apps the previous year. These merchants are also the ones who are growing their mobile sales at a faster rate than those Web merchants who did not provide apps to their customers.

All this goes to prove that e-retailers must prioritise their tech spending and see how best they can engage the growing number of consumers who turn to their smartphones and tablets for their next shopping experience.