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Mobile Commerce Will Grow

But several factors are capping its upside right now, Forrester finds

Mobile commerce, a $3 billion annual business last year, is expected to generate 10 times that much by 2016, Forrester Research Inc. reports.

However, “While this represents a compounded annual growth rate of 39% from 2011 to 2016, mobile commerce is only expected to be 7% of overall e-commerce sales by 2016,” it stated in a new study. (“Mobile commerce” here means transactions where payments are captured on mobile phones for the purchase of goods.)

The business outlook for mobile commerce is just one more variable for radio managers trying to figure out where their own offerings — audio and otherwise — fit while consumers presumably turn more and more to portable devices to do things they used to do via home computer or other means.

Forrester found that although smartphone adoption is growing quickly, most online consumers have not used mobile phones to buy a product yet. It said security concerns and mobile traffic speed are factors inhibiting growth of mobile commerce but those are likely to ease, and that retailers are investing in “strong mobile presences.”

But it listed other challenges to greater growth of mobile commerce, including low spending by retailers in optimizing their sites, confusion about the best mobile business strategies and difficult-to-measure return on investment.

“While more consumers will purchase more products and categories on their mobile devices over time, retailer investment in the mobile channel continues to remain modest as companies struggle to value the ROI around mobile investments and they cautiously navigate many difficult questions such as how many devices to bet on, whether to partner with third parties, whether to develop an app, how to integrate mobile into store operations, and how to value the impact of mobile on overall sales.”

— Paul McLane

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