October 12, 2010, 1:24 PM

Big retailers see big impact of mobile on web and store sales

M-commerce could influence 20% of store sales by 2015, a Mobile Commerce Forum speaker says.

Lead Photo

Hung LeHong talked about the future of mobile commerce at the Mobile Commerce Forum

Larger retailers figure that mobile commerce will influence 20% of store sales and 25% of e-commerce sales by 2015, Hung LeHong, vice president, research, at Gartner Inc. said at the Mobile Commerce Forum 2010 in Chicago today.

Those percentages, based on a survey of merchants with $1 billion or more in annual sales, represent a sharp change from the actual experience of such major retailers in 2009, LeHong said in a conference session titled "Mobile Consumers--Today and Tomorrow." Last year, tier one retailers said mobile commerce barely influenced other channel sales, impacting only 0.25% of store sales and an unknown percentage of web sales, LeHong said. Gartner based those figures on responses from a global survey of 170 retailers.

LeHong also noted that consumers are using their mobile phones more as multichannel shopping tools than to make direct mobile purchases. When Gartner asked consumers in a recent survey about using their mobile phones in shopping environments, 42% said they would use phones to check a physical store location; 34% said to check item prices in a store; 31% said to receive a mobile promotion; 17% said to purchase a product from a mobile app or mobile commerce site; and 16% said to pay for a store purchase. 

When using a mobile phone as an in-store shopping aid, 7% of consumers said they would use their phones to check if a product was in stock; 8% would check the price or current promotion on a product; and 5% would use their mobile phones to find the in-store location of a product. Le Hong added that retailers will probably need to run marketing and educational campaigns to get in-store shoppers to increase such use on their mobile phones.

He also said that consumers were wary about sharing personal information with retailers to gain mobile promotions. For example, 62% of consumers said they were strongly opposed to allowing a retailer access to their social network profile in exchange for mobile promotions, while only 11% said they were strongly in favor of such an exchange. However, about three-quarters said they might provide some information to retailers they patronize in exchange for some benefit.

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