Report: M-commerce to reach $707 billion in 2018

Hampshire, U.K. - Annual retail payments on mobile handsets and tablets are expected to reach $707 billion by 2018, representing 30% of all e-retail by that time. According to a new Juniper Research report, “Mobile Payment for Digital & Physical Goods: Opportunities & Forecast 2014-2018,” this compares with mobile retail spend of $182 billion in 2012, when mobile accounted for around 15% of e-retail.

The report found that leading retailers were increasingly developing strategies built around mobile, using it as a ‘hub’ facilitating payment, product discovery and customer retention. As a result, the size and scale of purchases across both smartphones and tablets is increasing strongly. However, for users owning both devices there was a strong trend toward browsing on the mobile while completing the purchase on the tablet, and that by the end of 2013 global per month retail spend on tablets had eclipsed that on handsets.

The report also highlighted the increasing trend toward “showrooming,” where consumers examine retailer products in-store while simultaneously browsing on their mobile devices to compare prices online. It argued that retailers need to adapt their strategies to incorporate this activity, by deploying tablets equipped with mobile point-of-sale capability throughout the store, while also introducing a price match option. However, the report cautioned that while retailers were increasingly optimizing their sites for mobile handsets, only a small minority had done so for tablets.

Other findings from the report include that Cyber Monday in 2013 saw retail sales via mobiles and tablets approach $400 million in the U.S. alone, and that for digital goods purchases, storefronts that implement direct carrier billing solutions can monetize younger demographics and unbanked users for the first time.

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