Mobile Commerce Shows Promise During 2010 Holiday Season


While a large increase in mobile commerce activity can be attributed to an economy back from a horrendous 2009, much of the gains should also be credited to retailers and consumers coming into their own via mobile offerings and mobile adoption (respectively). Brands have finally woken up to the reality that consumers want and will use their mobile devices to research, locate and purchase products, and this represents a burgeoning opportunity to not only increase sales but also meet increasing brand expectations.

IDC estimates that mobile savvy shoppers will account for $127B of the $447B (or 28%) spent this past holiday season with retailers. And while these are not directly mobile purchases, they include purchase influenced by mobile devices and show how far this medium has come in the past year toward being a critical piece to any retail marketing campaign. Consumers are looking for easy to access product information as well as consumer generated content which indicates the additional importance of social media in the process, albeit a smaller one (direct friends and trusted sites account for more influence). One interesting finding relates to age demographics, whereas the adults (both 25-44 and 45-54) comprise both the highly and moderately connected consumers who utilize their devices for purchase decisions (Mobile Marketer). This is a significant section of the consumer population and one which much more purchasing power than the normally tech savvy leading Tweens or Millennials.

Regarding mobile transactions specifically, EBay Inc.’s PayPal saw a 300 percent increase in mobile payments from the official start of the shopping season on Nov. 15 through Dec. 15 compared to the year-ago period (as reported by Mobile Marketer Daily). PayPal states its belief that the mobile phone will replace the wallet when it comes to retail transactions in the future. Increased smartphone ownership has driven this trend, which has taken off this past year. As consumers continue to demand a convenient and safe shopping experience, more merchants will follow in accepting mobile payments. A seamless checkout process is critical as consumers don’t want to be slowed down by resizing screens or entering credit card information.

Ebay was another retailer that had significant success this past holiday season reporting a 134% increase in mobile sales growth from the previous year (Nov. 25th – Dec. 25th). The top items were clothing, shoes, accessories and mobile phones (Mobile Marketer Daily). Interestingly some of the most expensive items purchased via mobile were Rolex watches, diamond jewelry and designer handbags, which show consumers are increasingly comfortable purchasing larger value goods on their phones. Experts in the field, including Lenco Mobile, expect these trends to continue in 2011.

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