August 1, 2012, 12:00 AM

European m-commerce sales will exceed $23 billion by 2017

That means 6.8% of all web sales will stem from mobile phones.

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Making purchases on a mobile phone is on the path to becoming mainstream in Europe, according to a new Forrester Research Inc. report.

Mobile commerce through mobile phones, excluding tablets and purchases made at a retail point of sale or a vending machine, will represent 6.8% of all online sales across Europe by 2017, reaching 19.25 billion euro, or $23.49 billion, according to the report. Impulse categories like books, music and DVDs, and categories such as ticketing and auctions where immediacy and location are important, will be the core mobile commerce growth categories, Forrester predicts.

Smartphone users are far more likely than other mobile device users to engage in mobile shopping via their phones, whether that is buying a product, locating a store or looking up a price while on the move, says the report, "EU Mobile Commerce Forecast: 2012 to 2017." The impact that mobile will have on the overall shopping experience will be much more significant as consumers increasingly turn to their phones to inform both online and offline purchases, Forrester says.

"Mobile buyers will mature from the early adopter profile today to become an increasingly mainstream audience—although this change will take time," writes report author and Forrester analyst Martin Gill.

The average annual spend of each European mobile buyer will rise from 201 euros ($244) in 2011 to 227 euros ($275) in 2017, the report predicts. It is the volume of buyers, not each shopper's individual spend, that will drive growth as shoppers focus their mobile buying primarily on lower-cost items, Forrester says.

As methods for mobile shopping improve, mobile purchasing will reach mainstream levels of adoption in 2017: The mobile buying population in Europe will rise from 7.6 million in 2011 to more than 79 million in 2017, with just more than 45% of all mobile users buying via their phones, the report says.

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

@IRmcommerce

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