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The Growth of M-Commerce

Admin Globaldots
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The number of mobile Web users all over the world has now topped 1 billion. To be more precise, there are almost 1.2 billion mobile Web users in the world. This equals to 17% of the entire population.

You’d think that this fact alone would leave web retailers busy with making their sites mobile friendly all of the time. However, according to Google, this is not the case. The reports show that 79% of smartphone users use their smartphones to help with shopping (Please note that all stats/numbers are taken from mobiThinking website), but 79% of large online advertisers still do not have a mobile optimized site.

Not to mention, according to the same source, that mobile searches have quadrupled in the last year. In fact, 1 out of 7 searches are now done through mobile devices.

“In the last twelve months, customers around the world have ordered more than US$1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device,” said Jeff Bezos for the Amazon (July 2010). On eBay, in 2011, people purchased $5 billion of goods using their mobile. PayPal expects to see $7 billion in mobile payment volume in 2012.

To sum it up:

  • 1.2 billion, or 17% of the global population uses mobile Web
  • 79% of mobile Web users use it for shopping
  • 79% of Web retailers still do not have mobile-friendly sites
  • 1 out of 7 searches are done through mobile devices, and this trend is quadrupling over the years
  • during just one year, users tend to purchase $5-7 billion of goods using their mobile devices through eBay and PayPal

The Mobile Market

In 2009, the top m-commerce retailer according to Altimeter Group (June 2010) was Taobao (part of Chinese Web giant Alibaba Group) with an estimated $800 million in revenues. This is not strange, since China is now the top market for smartphones accounting for 22% of global smartphone shipments (see MobiThinking stats).

Moreover, of the 6 billion worldwide mobile subscriptions, in 2011, around 700 million used a smartphone. Of the estimated 9 billion worldwide mobile subscriptions, in 2017, around 3 billion will use a smartphone (according to mobiThinking).

Just to include tablets in the equation, 68.7 million media tablets sold in 2011. This is predicted to rise to 106.1 million units. Apple alone sold 40.5 million iPads.

Mobile vs. Desktop

Mobile devices load slower, yet users expect sites to load as quickly on their phones as they do on their desktop browsers. 21% of mobile device users say they expect their load times on their phone to be about equal with their desktop, and 12% expect their phone to be faster.

The percentage of people regularly accessing the mobile Web in Japan and urban China is more than double the US according to surveys by Forrester (June 2011).

According to Table 1 (source: mobiThinking), 47% of mobile Web users in Japan access the Web at least monthly. 43% do so in China, and both double the number of 22% of such mobile Web users in US. Basically, growth in mobile Web penetration is strongest in Asia and Africa, where PC penetration is lower.

In May 2012, 10% of all Website hits/pageviews came from a mobile device, according to StatCounter. The most popular browsers, determined by Web pages visited are Opera with 21.9% and Android with 21.1%t, according to StatCounter (May 2012). See Table 2.

In many developing countries, the majority of mobile Web users use mobile devices only. Highest include Egypt at 70% and India at 59%.

Time for a second round-up:

  • In May 2012, 10% of all Website hits/pageviews came from a mobile device
  • 21% of mobile device users expect their load times on their phone to be about equal with their desktop
  • 12% of mobile device users expect their load times on their phone to be faster than their desktop
  • In developing nations, majority of mobile Web users use mobile devices only
  • 45% of the world’s population is now covered by a 3G mobile network (required for fast mobile Internet access)
  • Again, 79% of Web retailers still do not have mobile-friendly sites

Mobile data usage is expected to grow 20-fold by 2017, as cost per megabyte continues to fall, according to Portio Research (mobiThinking).

All the numbers say enough about how a slow site can not remain affordable for retailers. If the users abandon browser sites that do not load in 4 seconds or lower, imagine what only a second delay can do to those that access your website through mobile devices. The ever-growing number of 1 billion mobile Web users can no longer stay the mob that you will neglect. You wouldn’t pull down shutters to your business – see 10 Reasons to Speed Up Your Website.


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