eMarketer’s new forecast estimates mobile commerce sales to reach $6.7 billion by the end of 2011, a 91.4 percent increase over 2010. eMarketer also predicts 2012 mobile sales to grow another 73.1 percent up to $11.6 billion. In 2012, eMarketer predicts, 37.5 million U.S. consumers (ages 14 and up) will use their mobile phones to make at least on purchase, an increase of 40 percent.
eMarketer attributes this growth to a number of factors. For one, the number of smartphone owners has increased, as has the overall usage of mobile devices to access the Internet. Additionally, in recent years, consumers have changed how they view online retail websites:
“For years, the trend has been for consumers to research products online, then go buy in-store,” said [eMarketer Principal Analyst Jeffrey] Grau. “But as the industry improves its slate of mobile offerings, consumers are increasingly visiting stores to research products, then go buy something else on their mobile devices.”
Online retailers who sell products that are time sensitive (such as auction sites, flash sale sites, and daily deal sites) stand to gain significantly from this trend, as the mobile channel enables consumers to monitor these time limits while on the go.