Phone a friend: ecommerce and mcommerce are the biggest trends in retail

Phone a friend: ecommerce and mcommerce are the biggest trends in retail

By Michael Gaffney

You would have a hard time finding anyone you know who hasn’t bought something online. To drive that point home, let’s look at some stats about online shopping.

Online shopping as a sales category includes online purchases from brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailing companies such as Amazon or One Kings Lane, as well as online auctions and online daily deals companies. Also included are what’s referred to as “mixed commerce” sites such as eBay and Kijiji that are both a business-to-consumer, or B2C, transaction portal as well as a consumer-to-consumer, or C2C, transaction portal – sellers on these sites are both consumers and merchants.

The past five years saw considerable growth for the online shopping industry with a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, exceeding 10 percent. What is most striking are the CAGR differences between in-store sales, ecommerce and mobile commerce, or mcommerce, sales. By 2017, it’s predicted by Forrester Research (and they really know their stuff) that “the web will account for 10 percent of retail sales.” Think about that: fully one dollar out of every ten spent in retail will be online. Wow.


Mobile commerce, or mcommerce, is relatively new evolution on the ecommerce model. In 1997, one of the first instances of mobile commerce was a Coca Cola pilot for consumers to be able to text payment for their refreshing cola to a vending machine. When the iPhone came on the scene in 2007 with its multi-touch interface, quickly followed to market by other smartphones like the Android HTC Dream in 2008, the stage was set for consumers to start buying things on their phones en masse.

And consumers are buying stuff on their phones in droves. IBM research reported in Q1 2013 that mcommerce had year-over-year growth of 31 percent.


The U.S. Department of Commerce recently reported that year-over-year growth of mcommerce was now up to 47 percent, a massive increase compared to 2013.


According to Google, 79 percent of smartphone owners are smartphone shoppers and 85 percent of these use their phone while in the store. These shoppers aren’t just checking their phones for FOMO (fear of missing out) on their friends’ Facebook status updates; they’re using their mobile device to help them make purchase decisions. Even more interesting is the fact that shoppers who use mobile phones buy more in the store than other consumers.

Online retail revenue in the United States is forecast at 500 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 while the number of digital buyers is expected to grow to 180 million in 2017, according to industry estimates. That’s a lot of opportunity for consumers to give up their personal information to merchants. Unless they use their Dodoname, that is. Make the online purchases you want to make, how, when and where you want to make them, without ever giving up your personal information.

(Image: Flickr, Johan Larsson, link)


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