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Mobile sales to explode in coming years, studies find

Jan 23, 2013 Dave King

Electronic payments continue to emerge as Americans' preferred shopping method, and the rise of mobile ecommerce is only adding to the platform's popularity.

A recent study by Forrester found that a quarter of 132 million American smartphone users have made purchases from their mobile devices - and that number is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years. Mobile retail sales in the United States are expected to account for more than $12 billion in 2013, and by 2017, mobile commerce will likely surpass the $30 billion plateau, according to Mashable.

The report revealed that in 2012, mobile retail sales total reached $8 billion, which accounts for 1.5 percent of all purchases made via the internet. However, that number is projected to grow 33 percent annually over the next five years, and by 2017, 9 percent of all?electronic payments will be made using mobile devices.

Although the Forrester report found that mobile apps have been largely ineffective to date, it suggested that consumers should continue to invest in these tools.A separate study by eMarketer, which?yielded even better results for retailers with regard to mobile commerce, affirmed that position.

According to the report, U.S. smartphone, tablet and laptop sales increased 81 percent, to nearly $25 billion in 2012, and could jump another 55.7 percent in 2013. By the end of the year, 15 percent of all?electronic payments will be done using mobile devices.

Tablets, compared to other mobile devices, appear to have become shoppers' medium of choice. American consumers spent $24 billion on tablets in 2012, and that figure could approach $50 billion by 2015. Smartphone sales are expected to total near $25 billion by 2016.

In addition, the study found that mobile ecommerce will continue to gain popularity in the coming years, growing from less than 10 percent to nearly 17 percent of all retail ecommerce sales by 2016.