US Mobile Retail Sales To Top $12 Billion In 2013

The rapid growth and ubiquity of smartphones has led many to conclude that a significant portion of Internet activity, including shopping, will migrate to these mobile devices. To help eBusiness professionals in retail get a better sense of the real size and opportunity that exists, Forrester has released its “US Mobile Retail Forecast, 2012 To 2017.” Retailers beware: while mobile commerce is growing and undeniably shifting how some consumers buy, the pertinent facts are that:

  • Total US mobile retail is still small. Forrester estimates that of the 132 million US mobile Internet users in 2012, only a quarter of those users have ever made purchases via their phones. While we expect the retail mCommerce penetration rate to double by 2017, it’s still a tiny portion of eCommerce — and, consequently, a minuscule share of overall retail.
  • Significant impediments exist for mobile retail. The main road block to mobile sales is the checkout experience; it’s the single most important feature when it comes to driving conversions on mobile devices. Adding an easy checkout experience, like PayPal Express, will enable users to more easily convert – even with the smaller screen – but how much that moves the needle remains to be seen.
  • Consumers prefer the mobile Web to apps, despite retailer investment. Consumer awareness of and/or interest in retail apps is low: Only a tiny share of any given retailer’s shoppers appears to download their app. Most shoppers who access a retailer’s mobile presence get there by clicking on links from mobile search engines or from mobile emails.
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"State Of Retailing Online 2013" launches on Shop.org today

Forrester recently completed the “State Of Retailing Online 2013: Key Metrics And Initiatives” report in conjunction with our friends at Shop.org. It is available on Shop.org (with a subscription) now.

Some of the reports highlights include the following facts:

  • Web sales continue to grow (duh!). Retailers we surveyed experienced 28% growth on average in 2012 over 2011. Furthermore, 72% of those retailers are experiencing double digit growth.
  • Key eCommerce metrics are improving. The retailers we surveyed generally responded that site conversion rates, average order values and the percentage of repeat shopper sales all grew in 2012.
  • Mobile growth rates are strong.  Mobile commerce grew at a triple digit pace last year for the retailers we surveyed, but off a teeny base. Furthermore, the debate remains on whether mobile traffic with its anemic conversion rates, actually hurts “the mother ship.” Retailers were split on that assessment.
  • 2013 initiatives will focus on site optimization. Of the retailers we interviewed, site conversion rate and redesigning the web experience – in other words, optimizing the overall online experience -- topped the list, yes, more than even investing in mobile. Many retailers specifically called out plans to focus on the checkout experience and to adjust their site to accommodate a responsive design framework.

Shop.org members can access the document here and Forrester clients will be able to access the document on January 28, 2013.