The mobile phone is evolving into a power commerce tool, enabling consumers to review products, run price comparisons, access inventory levels and to make transactions both over the mobile network and also at the retail point of sale. However, while industry commentators have hailed the virtues of mobile commerce for some time consumers have not responded positively beyond buying ringtones and wallpapers for their phones. So why will m-commerce begin to blossom in 2012?
Firstly, some big web retailers indicate that mobile is becoming a significant sales channel. In July 2010 Amazon announced that mobile devices generated US$1 billion in sales, 3.5% of its net sales during the 12 month period. Last month Ebay stated it expects to process $3 billion in payments (via PayPal) in 2011. To dispel the view that big ticket items aren’t ripe for mobile commerce Ebay indicated 3-4 Ferraris are sold via its mobile app each month!
Secondly, we expect to see more retailers create mobile sites enabled for mobile commerce. For a long time web traffic from mobile devices has been negligible, but once it accounts for over 10% of traffic, as it is for some retailers, merchants start to view it as a missed sales opportunity.
Thirdly, a slew of services will be launched in 2012 enabling consumers to make small value payments by tapping their NFC enabled mobile phone against an NFC retail point of sale. 2012 will be a critical year for driving NFC handset sales and also encouraging retailers to adopt the technology, although we expect end-user adoption to lag due to inertia.
Finally, consumers increasingly recognise that product reviews and price comparisons conducted on mobile enable better purchasing decisions in and outside the store. Importantly, mobile payment is convenient and enables consumers to buy products when and wherever they want.
This post forms part of RCR Wireless' Analyst Angle: 2012 mobile trends - mobile commerce, product ecosystems, location integration