September 26, 2012, 1:24 PM

The big players dominate U.S. mobile commerce

U.S. m-commerce sales will grow 99% in 2012 to nearly $21 billion.

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Driven by widespread adoption of consumers using the mobile web and their smartphones and computer tablets to research and buy products and book travel online, mobile commerce sales in the U.S.  are booming in 2012. But the growth was driven by the mobile commerce market’s biggest retail, ticket and travel companies, an analysis of data published in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400 shows.

In 2012 mobile commerce sales in the U.S. grew year over year 98.6% to $20.85 billion from $10.50 billion in 2011. That number includes the U.S.-only numbers from the companies ranked in the Mobile 400, which collectively grew year over year 97.4% to $10.85 billion from $5.50 billion, plus $10 billion in mobile sales from eBay, which generated $5 billion in mobile sales in 2011. EBay is not ranked in the Mobile 400 because it’s a platform that other retailers use to sell online, not a retailer itself. Of all U.S. mobile commerce sales, the U.S. sales of the Mobile 400 accounted for 52% of sales, the same percentage as the previous year.

More retail sales are coming through mobile devices, both smartphones and tablets, and mobile sales are growing faster than web sales as a whole. In 2012 U.S. mobile commerce sales will grow nearly 10 times faster than U.S. e-commerce sales, which are expected to grow about 16.3% to $226 billion from $194.3 billion in 2011. The estimate for 2012 is from Forrester and the 2011 number is from the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2012, mobile sales will account for about 9.2% of all U.S. e-commerce sales compared with 5.4% in 2011.

The Internet Retailer Mobile 400 includes the m-commerce sales of the largest retail, ticket and travel companies in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. Including all markets the combined sales of retailers ranked in the Mobile 400 grew 85.1% from $4.76 billion in 2011 to $8.81 billion in 2012. By comparison, mobile sales of  travel companies grew year over year 281.6% to $1.16 billion from $304 million, while ticket companies posted combined sales of $288.1 million, up 1701% from $106.3 million in 2011.

The biggest market represented in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400 is the U.S., where 281 retailers grew their combined sales year over year 83.2% to $7.99 billion from $4.36 billion compared with U.S. mobile travel sales (38 companies) that grew 149.5% to $2.57 billion in 2012 from $1.03 billion in 2011 and ticket companies that posted U.S. sales of $288.1 million, up 1701 from $106.3 million in 2011.

The top 10 companies ranked in the Mobile 400—Amazon.com, Apple Inc., Marriott International Inc., Orbitz LLC, QVC, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Hilton Worldwide, easyJet, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Expedia—accounted for 39.3%, $8.19 billion, of all U.S. mobile commerce sales in 2012, compared with 39.0%, $4.1 billion, for the top 10 in 2011.

An analysis of the data of the U.S. retailers ranked in the Mobile 400 shows a high degree of concentration among the biggest merchants in retailing, especially Amazon, No. 1 in Mobile 400. Mobile sales for Amazon.com Inc. will reach $4.00 billion in mobile sales in 2012, Internet Retailer estimates, and Apple Inc. (No. 2) will hit $1.17 billion in web-only sales of apps, music, video and e-books. Seven other web-only merchants bring plenty to the table, and three of them are flash-sales retailers: Gilt Groupe (No. 13), at $129.6 million; RueLaLa.com (No. 19), $67.5 million; and One Kings Lane (No. 36), $44.0 million. The other four e-retail­ers are Overstock.com (No. 24), $63.1 million; Buy.com (No. 30), $57.5 million; Newegg (No. 45), $31.2 million; and Yoox Group (No. 48), $29.7 million. Then there are the TV/web retailers that have been m-com­merce pioneers: QVC (No. 5), $350.0 million; HSN Inc. (No. 14), $110.0 million; and ShopNBC (No. 26), $60.0 million.

Findings from the Mobile 400 reveal that mobile commerce success varies by product category, too. Mass merchants, those that sell a wide variety of merchandise, across all markets accounted for 63.0% of m-commerce sales, while those merchants, including Amazon and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., accounted for only 41.10% of the e-commerce sales of retailers in the Internet Retailer Top 500 guide, which ranks North American retailers by their web sales.

Computer/electronics merchants had nearly equal shares of 17.00% in m-commerce and 16.00% in e-commerce. Apparel/accessories retailers, too, were close with 11.20% share of m-commerce sales and 12.30% of e-commerce sales.

Among three other categories, e-commerce continues to dominate, reflecting consumer preference to shop on computers rather than mobile devices for these products: food/drug, 0.86% for m-commerce and 2.31% for e-commerce; hardware/home improvement, 0.75% in m-commerce share and 2.42% in e-commerce share; and office supplies accounting for 1.22% of m-commerce sales, but 4.09% in e-commerce sales.

For the first time the Mobile 400 is available in three formats: print, digital and as part of the all-new and completely updated Top500Guide.com. Information on how to order the fully updated 2013 Mobile 400 Guide is available here.

 

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