December 17, 2010, 12:16 PM

Mobile commerce sales more than double this year

ABI Research says sales increase to $3.4 billion this year from $1.4 billion in 2009.

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To put it in colloquial terms, mobile commerce is growing like crazy, new research shows.

Total U.S. m-commerce sales, excluding travel, grew 253% from $396.3 million in 2008 to $1.4 billion in 2009, emerging technologies research and consulting firm ABI Research finds. And by the end of this month, it will have grown 143% from $1.4 billion in 2009 to $3.4 billion in 2010. Travel-related mobile purchases will add another $1.5 billion this year.

“We are entering a highly innovative and creative period for retail,” says Mark Beccue, senior analyst, consumer mobility, at ABI Research. “Mobile online shopping growth in the U.S. has been fueled this year by the massive migration of consumers to smartphones, the explosion of highly innovative use-cases deployed by retailers and third-party players, and a significant shift in consumer behavior as more consumers choose mobile shopping over traditional online shopping.”

ABI research finds that products purchased via mobile phones are not limited to one or two categories. In 2010, 20% of products purchased via m-commerce were computers/electronics, 13% apparel, 9% books/music/DVDs, 7% office supplies, 6% housewares/home furnishings and other 11%. Travel-related sales accounted for 31% and tickets 3%.

But mobile commerce is not just about sales. It’s a tool that can tie channels together as well as help retailers, consumer brand manufacturers, travel companies and ticket sellers better connect with their customers.

“Beyond direct sales generated via mobile,” adds mobile marketing practice director Neil Strother, “innovative retailers will use mobile online shopping to introduce a broad range of mobile marketing campaigns and customer relationship management programs.”

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