We live in a digital world. It's no longer a transition or a revolution, but simply reality. Everything we do – work, school, socialization, entertainment, etc. – have all been redefined thanks to digital technologies and the internet.
The smartphone is a big reason why this has happened. These devices put the internet and all its might within arm's reach at all times. Plus, the many apps we use have also made it possible for things to become digital.
This trend is happening everywhere, but one area where it's particularly pronounced is in the retail industry. People are shopping online more than ever, and eCommerce is slowly overtaking traditional in-person retail shopping. Inside this trend is another – the move towards mobile eCommerce, sometimes referred to as mCommerce.
This industry is growing, and it's growing fast, reminding us just how quickly things change in our fast-paced, digital world.
Below you'll find 20 stats about mCommerce that will truly blow your mind.
Put simply, mCommerce is business conducted over a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet. It's pretty much the same as eCommerce, but it doesn't include what we do on desktop computers.
One of the primary activities involved in mCommerce is shopping. We research products on our phones, compare them, and then make purchases directly on the device.
However, other things fall under the mCommerce umbrella, such as:
· Mobile banking – Most of us have been doing online banking for some time, but now mobile banking is all the rage. Many banks have a dedicated app that allows you to do pretty much everything you need to do with your account right on your phone. There are also third-party apps that connect to your accounts and allow you to use them as you please. The growth of mCommerce has allowed for the existence of banks that do not have a physical location. Instead, they operate entirely through the internet. Did you ever think you'd love to see that?
· Mobile payments – Another aspect of mCommerce is the mobile payments industry. This includes more "traditional" services such as PayPal and Venmo, but it also includes newer things such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal One-Touch, Samsung Pay, etc. If you've never used any of these services, they connect to your debit and credit cards and allow you to pay for things using your phone. It's convenient and secure since you often need to verify transactions with your face, fingerprint, or PIN. The mobile payments industry is a rapidly growing part of the mCommerce world.
Shopping, banking, and paying are the three arms of the mCommerce industry. As you can see, they represent essential activities in our daily lives, which can help explain why this is catching on and quickly becoming the preferred way of doing business online.
The Growing eCommerce Industry
To understand the significance of some of the stats we're about to discuss, we need first to get an idea of what's going on in the overall eCommerce world. Here is some data that shows what's been going on over the past few years.
As you can see, eCommerce is big money. Those numbers are in trillions, which is an amount too big for most of us to fathom.
However, you will see that eCommerce's share of retail is expected to level off. There was a decent jump in 2020, though this was mainly due to the pandemic. Many people who may have preferred to shop in-person were forced to do so online because of restrictions or safety concerns.
Things are expected to continue to grow but just not quite at the same pace as we saw over the past year.
The graph above tells us what's happening around the world. Here's what's happening in the United States:
The United States trend is relatively similar to the one playing out across the rest of the planet. However, eCommerce's overall retail sales share is slightly smaller in the US than elsewhere.
One interesting thing to note is that the United States accounts for roughly one-quarter of the entire world's eCommerce spending. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise since the US is one of the world's largest consumer markets, but that it commands such a large share is interesting.
Clearly, eCommerce itself is growing rapidly, and it's expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. A big reason for this is the prevalence of smartphones in today's society. Here are some stats that show us just how important these devices are becoming in our daily lives:
According to the Pew Research Center, three-quarters of all Americans own a smartphone, which means that nearly all of us have one. Overall, 96 percent of Americans have access to a smartphone.
However, what's perhaps more interesting, or at least more relevant when talking about mCommerce, is that mobile phones are increasingly becoming our preferred means of accessing the web. Mobile traffic currently accounts for 53.3 percent of all internet traffic.
All of this means that we have phones and we like to use them. And, oh yeah, we also like to shop! The perfect combination for spurring growth in the mCommerce industry.
When we step outside the US, we don't see quite the same numbers. There are currently a little more than 7 billion people on the planet, which means that around half of the world's population are smartphone users.
That's nowhere near the 81 percent penetration rate we see in the US, but it's still a pretty significant number. And it's growing. In poorer, less-developed countries, smartphones are being adopted at breakneck speeds, especially as prices come down and network infrastructure improves.
Even with just half the world using smartphones, mCommerce is still on the rise. With so many more people still to get these devices, we suspect we're just at the beginning of this trend.
This is a pretty remarkable number, especially when we extrapolate it out and calculate this over a lifetime. It works out to around 76,000 hours OR ABOUT NINE YEARS.
Yes, you read that right. We will spend nine years of our life looking at our phones.
Whether or not this is time wasted or time well spent is up to you and your perspective on how we should make use of the moments we have here on Earth. However, what it does show is that we as a society are pretty darn hooked to our smartphones.
It, therefore, makes a lot of sense that we would be so open to online shopping. We shop anyway, and since we're already spending so much time on our phones, why not use them to shop?
With eCommerce and smartphone usage on the rise, we have some pretty high expectations for how this will translate to the world of mCommerce. Yet, even knowing this information probably won't prevent you from being shocked by some of these numbers.
Read on to have your mind blown:
Yes, that's trillion with a "t." This is a truly massive amount of money, and it's even more impressive when we consider that even ten years ago, mobile shopping and mCommerce weren't all that significant. People were just getting comfortable with their smartphones and all this tech, so eCommerce was growing, but mCommerce has exploded over the years.
Both the eCommerce and mCommerce industries are expected to see continued growth over the years, so this number is likely to grow. We can also expect mCommerce to cut even more into the eCommerce pie since it is rapidly becoming the primary means of shopping online.
One of the more interesting trends in the mCommerce world is how quickly it is becoming the preferred means of shopping online. As you can see from the graph above, mCommerce's share of total eCommerce sales was only slightly more than one-third back in 2017. Fast forward to 2021, and it's more than 50 percent.
This means that the majority of eCommerce sales now take place on mobile devices. This is a pretty significant statistic given that mCommerce wasn't anywhere to be seen just a few years ago.
Perhaps now that you have seen some of the numbers we just presented, this stat won't be so "mind-blowing." However, it's still important to know that pretty much every projection out there indicates that mCommerce will continue to carve out a larger and larger share of the overall eCommerce market.
According to a projection by Statista, mCommerce could make up as much as 79 percent of all eCommerce sales by just 2024.
This is, again, a pretty remarkable jump. Of course, these are just projections. Anything can happen between now and then to change this outcome. Even so, the mere possibility of this indicates just how significant this method of conducting business is becoming.
If we stop and think about it, maybe this isn't the most shocking stat on this list, purely because teenagers are the ones who are most likely to use their phones for pretty much anything. Teenagers also don't have a lot of money to spend, typically, so it's difficult to know how much they contribute to the growth in mCommerce that we are currently witnessing.
However, that teenagers are already using their phones to shop as much as they are, makes it that much more likely that the projections about mCommerce growth are correct. As this group grows up and enters the workforce – i.e., starts making money – this could cause mCommerce sales to skyrocket.
Of course, there is still time for things to change. If we know one thing about this digital world in which we live, nothing lasts too long, and there is always something else on the horizon. Who knows what fancy new things might come out to attract the youth's attention and keep them from shopping on their phones?
Although teenagers are most likely to make a purchase, they are not the only ones doing so. In fact, according to this statistic from Outer Box Design, just under 80 percent of all smartphone users have made a purchase using their mobile device.
At first, this number may seem high, but if we think about things such as Uber and Lyft, or food delivery, and other popular services, it's easy to see how so many people have begun spending money through their phones.
Someday soon, this number will probably hit 100 percent. When exactly? We don't know, but soon.
A significant reason behind the growth in smartphone use as well as mCommerce is the prevalence of apps. They make using the internet on our phones so much easier, and they also make things like shopping effortless. Even websites optimized for mobile devices still don't always work the way we want them to when accessed via our phones.
In response to this, most large retailers are investing in creating their own apps that people can use to shop. These include all the giants – Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. – and around two-thirds of the population has downloaded one of these apps.
However, this does point us towards something else – the unfair advantage of larger firms. While the preferred means of accessing the web on our phones, apps cost a lot of money to develop. Therefore, smaller businesses likely won't be able to keep up.
If you want to shop on your phone but also support small, local businesses, then try to get comfortable with using clunky mobile websites.
You'd think that with all this growth in mCommerce, shopping online would be a breeze, no? Well, not so fast. It turns out that the vast majority of people – around 88 percent – find shopping on their phones to be inconvenient.
There could be several reasons for this. For example, when we shop online, we often like to have multiple tabs or windows open to do research and compare prices from different places. This is not as easy to do when using a mobile phone.
Despite these challenges, mCommerce is still growing rapidly. So, as the experience improves over the coming years, we can expect this growth to continue at a pace.
Again, mCommerce has become the norm within the eCommerce world even though most people walk away from the eCommerce experience either displeased or at the very least less-than-satisfied.
Of course, saying "could have been better" doesn't tell us too much since people can often be picky and make complaints about small things. However, the data does suggest that this experience, overall, is not great. It will be interesting to see how this changes in the coming years.
This stat reminds us that we are indeed at the beginning of this journey. It suggests, however, that the problem isn't so much that we're not getting a good experience when we shop online but that we're actually getting a bad one.
Then again, how often do we encounter problems while shopping using regular websites or in-person? Retailers will surely work these kinks out soon, and this will likely propel the eCommerce world to new heights.
Now we're starting to see why mCommerce is growing so fast. People just can't help themselves!
According to a Pixel Union study, 67 percent of people say that they shop online "just for fun," meaning they aren't looking for anything specific but instead are just browsing. However, 77 percent of these "fun shoppers" wound up making an impulse buy. Perhaps all that "fun" gets people to lower their defenses and take out their wallets.
It's hard to say why this is the case, but marketing probably has something to do with it. Digital marketing is so targeted these days as a result of all the data that's out there that it's easy to come into contact with something compelling, which, it appears, can pretty quickly lead to a purchase.
If you like shopping online but feel you're spending too much money, maybe take a look at those impulse buys. You're probably making them more than you think!
Perhaps it's because of all these impulse buys, or maybe it's because of just how easy it can sometimes be to buy things on our phones, but mobile shoppers are also big spenders.
It's likely that as mCommerce continues to grow and become the preferred means of shopping online, this will no longer be true. Not everyone who shops on their phone is going to start spending double. It will be interesting to see if the switch to mCommerce as the primary shopping method in our society leads to higher overall retail sales.
Social media is a massive part of our lives, and it's been a big reason why mCommerce has been growing so quickly over the years.
We use social media to find out about new products and learn about the brands from which we are purchasing our goods. Social media gives these companies the chance to showcase who they are and build a connection with their customers, and it appears that this can work quite well.
As we move forward and mCommerce becomes more significant, it will be interesting to see social media's role. Do people want to keep these spaces free of retail? Or do they want to continue converting them into marketplaces? Only time will tell.
Does this qualify as mCommerce? Tough to say. Probably not in this case since the purchase is made at the physical store. No matter what, this trend shows us that mobile phones are very much a part of our purchase process. We naturally turn to our phones for information and reviews, so it only makes sense that we would also turn to them to make purchases.
Up until now, we have discussed mobile shopping, but as we mentioned, there are other aspects of mCommerce, mainly mobile banking and the mobile payments industry.
Here are a few stats about these two areas that will rock your world:
The ease and convenience of conducting financial transactions on the internet helped us fall in love with mobile banking. Overall, 89 percent of us use it in some capacity. When we break things down by age, we see that 97 percent of millennials use mobile banking, as do 91 percent of Gen Xers and 79 percent of Baby Boomers.
Everyone seems to like it, but it's more popular with younger generations, suggesting that it will only grow as our younger age brackets age and get themselves plugged into the financial world.
This is a massive increase, and it's largely due to the migration of our banking systems to mobile devices. This isn't meant to scare you. Sure, there is a risk, but banks are aware of this and have put systems in place to make sure your money is secure.
However, this is something to pay attention to. As our money gets more and more digital, it's also more at risk. How companies respond to this will play a significant role in how the mobile banking industry evolves going forward.
Considering mobile payments (Apple, Samsung, Google, Amazon Pay, etc.), it's pretty remarkable that this industry has achieved such growth in such a short period. However, given the convenience and security of this payment method, it's also not hard to see why it's catching on so quickly.
Plus, 2020 was a good year for mobile payments companies since this technology offered people the chance to pay for things contact-free. This may have helped expose people to this technology who might not have otherwise used it, promoting growth in the industry.
In the spirit of the times, things do seem to be changing quite quickly. If we go back just a few years, mobile payments were pretty much nowhere to be found. Now, we're on the cusp of them becoming the primary means of payment in retail locations.
This graph shows us how people are paying for things in 2021:
As you can see, cash is out, and mobile payments are in. Will they eventually overtake debit cards? It's impossible to know for sure, but it's certainly something we can expect given the information we have.
Given the stats we've just presented, it's tough even to call this a trend. It's now just become how we do things. Of course, anything can happen to change the course of the future, but for now, it seems as though we are going to be doing more and more of our shopping on our phones and tablets.