While not every facet of the mobile ecosystem is showing the same rapid growth that it used to, new research from Digi-Capital predicts that mobile internet still has several good years ahead of it, thanks in large part to m-commerce.
The digital research company released its "Mobile Internet Report Q1 2015," which predicted that the mobile internet and related businesses will almost triple in value over the next three years, from $300 billion in 2014 to about $850 billion in 2018.
The main driver of that growth is expected to be m-commerce, which made up more than half of the total investment in mobile internet over the last year. By 2018 it is forecasted to represent nearly three-quarters of all investments poured into mobile.
The Asian market surpassed America's market in 2014. By 2018, Digi-Capital expects Asian m-commerce to constitute more than half of the $600 billion in sales netted via mobile devices.
"The rise of Alibaba, Flipkart and others highlights that m-commerce is no longer just the domain of familiar giants like Amazon and eBay," Digi-Capital's managing director Tim Merel wrote for TechCrunch. "Established offline retailers are also showing m-commerce's value. Wanda E-commerce, a joint venture of retailer Dalian Wanda, Tencent and Baidu, became worth over $3 billion within four months of being founded and before it had sold anything."
Mobile advertising is also poised to overtake in-app purchases and paid apps as the second-biggest slice of the mobile internet pie as more retailers learn how to target an audience on smartphones and tablets. The mobile ad industry could be worth as much as $85 million in 2018, a segment in which the United States is likely to maintain its lead as its advertising spend continues to outpace that of Asia.
Retailers have struggled to make the most of their mobile initiatives in the early stages of implementation, mostly due to lackluster ideas and poor execution. Many companies are starting to recognize the value of approaching mobile intelligently, though, as digital's influence on in-store sales becomes apparent and major retailers like Walmart (NYSE:WMT) have proven they can successfully achieve mobile growth.
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