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Mobile Commerce transactions to exceed $3.2tn by 2017, driven by banking – but lack of mobile site optimisation remains a concern

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The value of mobile commerce transactions conducted via mobile handsets and tablets will exceed $3.2 trillion by 2017, up from $1.5 trillion this year, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

The increasing popularity of mobile devices for bill payment is reflected in the fact that the mobile banking sector accounts for the lion’s share of transaction values over the next five years. However, to put global m-commerce into context, total financial transactions in the US alone exceeded $4,400 trillion in 2012.

The report – Mobile Commerce Markets: Sector-by-Sector Trend Analysis & Forecasts 2013-2017 – observed that a number of key industries – retail, airline, financial institutions – were emphasising the importance of the mobile channel as an engagement, delivery and payment mechanism. It cited the activities of Visa and Mastercard with regards to NFC certification and the airline industry’s wider eTicketing initiative as key developments in this regard.

Furthermore, it observed that the introduction of mobile wallet services was providing first time financial access in many emerging markets where the proportion of unbanked adults exceeded 50%. In the same markets, partnerships between OTT storefronts and network operators – enabling payment via carrier billing – were enabling greater access to the digital economy.

However, the report noted that a number of hurdles still needed to be overcome if m-commerce were to achieve its potential in the coming years. According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, “A significant minority of retailers have yet to optimise their sites for mobile. Unless retailers ensure a seamless, user-friendly mobile shopping experience, they will fall behind competitors who are already using mobile channels to enhance customer relationships.”

The report also pointed out that lengthy POS (Point Of Sale) infrastructure replacement lifecycles were hampering NFC deployments in both the retail and transport sectors, with players understandably reluctant to upgrade infrastructure without a demonstrable return on investment.

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