US M-Commerce Sales to Grow 91% to $6.7 Billion in 2011

NEW YORK —Mobile commerce is still small compared to the overall ecommerce market, but m-commerce sales are on a steep upward trajectory, thanks in part to increasing adoption of smartphones and rising mobile internet usage, according to a new forecast by eMarketer.

eMarketer estimates mobile commerce sales will reach $6.7 billion this year in the US—a tiny fraction of overall retail sales, to be sure, but a 91.4% increase over 2010. Next year, sales will rise another 73.1% to $11.6 billion.

“Mobile commerce is growing at a fast clip—and it’s acting as an engine of overall ecommerce growth, by converting potential brick-and-mortar sales to digital sales as consumers use their smartphones while shopping in-store,” said eMarketer principal analyst Jeffrey Grau, author of a forthcoming report on mobile buying.

eMarketer’s estimates of mobile sales are based on a meta-analysis of data from research firms as well as overall trends in mobile ownership and usage. M-commerce sales include sales of physical goods as well as travel and event tickets purchased via mobile, but exclude digital downloads and usage of mobile phones as a point-of-sale payment mechanism. eMarketer’s estimates for m-commerce sales do not include purchases made from tablet devices.

eMarketer forecasts 37.5 million US consumers ages 14 and up will make at least one purchase on their mobile phone next year, up from 26.8 million this year. The vast majority of that group will be smartphone owners, at 97% in 2012. Overall, 72.8 million mobile users will research or browse items on their phone next year but not necessarily make a purchase.

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