With smartphones and tablets dominating ever more of our time, it seems like they must be dominating most markets as well. As it turns out, however, a new study from Forrester Research found mobile shopping remains a tiny percentage of the retail market, according to The New York Times.
The reports says that less than 15 percent of online consumers have made a purchase on a mobile device. Last year, mobile shopping accounted for only around $3 billion, or roughly 1 percent of all electronic commerce and far less than 1 percent of all retail sales.
The report suggests that the field could see explosive growth, reaching more than 10 times its current size by 2016, but it would still amount to only 7 percent of electronic shopping and finally around 1 percent of all sales.
Limitations on the market center primarily on security issues, but also technical barriers and confused business strategies. Despite the small size of the market, 25 of the 30 largest online retailers boast iPhone apps and a related study found that more than 90 percent of all online retailers created mobile strategies, though the report calls many of them “immature.”
Currently the largest companies seem focused on integrating mobile devices into payment systems, such as Google Wallet and Isis. These systems and numerous others rely on consumers to adopt the technology and businesses to support it. Forrester, however, feels that the best use of mobile technology would come exclusively from company policy, which can be tailored through a clear strategy rather than hoping for consumer action.
“While the opportunity to arm store associates with instantaneous information and richer payment acceptance capabilities may be the most compelling reason for retailers to invest in mobile, most companies view mobile as a channel that is primarily about completing sales through a mobile site,” said the report’s author, Sucharita Mulpuru.
Apple is one company that has emphasized this approach with its adoption of the Square credit card reader, a device that plugs into an iPhone or iPad. The gadget is only the second mobile credit card reader to be accepted into the Apple Store and looks to be featured in their physical stores.
Interestingly for both Apple and Google, however, iPhone users are actually more interested in mobile payment applications like Google Wallet than are Android users, according to a new report from Retrovo.