Forecast: Mobile Commerce To Hit $41 Billion This Year

U.S. mobile-commerce sales will top $40 billion by the end of 2013 and pass $110 billion by the holiday season of 2017, according to a new forecast by eMarketer.

The e-commerce analysis firm said that m-commerce sales will reach $41.68 billion in 2013, $56.72 in 2014, $75 billion in 2015, $96.81 billion in 2016 and $113.57 billion in 2017. That means the rate of m-commerce growth will slow dramatically, from a 68 percent annual growth rate this year to less than 20 percent in 2017. That's still very healthy growth compared with typical in-store year-over-year sales increases.

The forecast also predicts that mobile will account for 25 percent of retail e-commerce sales, up from 16 percent this year. Emarketer counts sales according to how goods or services are ordered, not how they're paid for or delivered. It also excludes travel and event ticket sales.

The forecast also says that m-commerce sales through tablets have already overtaken smartphone-based sales, with actual revenue via tablets 78 percent higher than through smartphones this year. That's at odds with other analysts' projections, which say tablets generate a much higher level of sales than phones, but haven't yet beaten phones for total sales dollars because there are simply so many more phones than tablets.

The problem, of course, is that definitions aren't standardized even for what qualifies as a sale via mobile commerce. Complicating things further is the increasing focus by bricks-and-mortar retailers on omnichannel commerce, where the retailer expects every channel to drive sales, regardless where the sale is rung up. In addition, some large retailers are no longer breaking out e-commerce and m-commerce sales from in-store sales. In part that could be to veil their actual levels of online and mobile success (or lack of it).

But it's also a legitimate recognition that when stores drive mobile commerce and mobile drives in-store sales, for example, assigning the sale to a channel is increasingly difficult—and increasingly meaningless.

For more:

- See this eMarketer post

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