What is m-commerce?

Posted on June 4, 2013

The term “m-commerce” stands for mobile commerce, and it’s the browsing, buying and selling of products and services on mobile devices. In other words, it’s a complete online shopping experience, but with all the convenience of being on a cellphone or tablet.

With the boom in smartphone and tablet ownership, m-commerce has followed suit.  In 2012, m-commerce sales in the U.S. hit $24.66 billion, which was an 81% increase from $13.63 billion in 2011. More impressively, looking at the 2012 holiday season alone, mobile visitors accounted for a third of holiday ecommerce traffic.

And you can’t look at m-commerce today without addressing “showrooming.” If you haven’t heard of the term, showrooming is when a customer goes into a brick-and-mortar store to check out a product, then instead of purchasing it at that store, finds that same product online and buys it for a cheaper price. The rise of m-commerce has spurred showrooming to grow as well, with 134% more shoppers showrooming during the 2012 holiday season than in 2011.

The most prominent m-commerce trend is its own growth. According to Forrester, annual m-commerce sales are predicted to quadruple to $31 billion in the next five years.