Smartphone: E-Commerce Kingmaker

e-commerce smartphones.jpgLike it or loathe it, it seems like everyone has one. No, not “an opinion,” a smartphone.

How many people in the US have a smartphone? About 60% of the total population in 2015. No small feat, considering the devices really only gained consumer market traction when Apple introduced the first-generation iPhone in June 2007.

What’s driving smartphone adoption? It certainly isn’t the ability to share meaningful voice conversations with friends and family — you don’t need a smartphone for that. The real value lays in the ever-expanding range of capabilities smartphones possess and the services they can access.

Is mobile a big trend in e-commerce? Yes, but the impact is broader than what you might think.

Consumers are undeniably shopping more and more from their phones but, more significantly, their adoration for the smartphone ecosystem of capabilities and services as a whole has fundamentally changed purchasing behavior and the types of products sold. For instance, consumers increasingly use apps to order products for in-store or curbside pickup. They also shop from their phones as a means of passing a few moments of boredom between activities, even at work. While this behavior supports impulse shopping, consumers are more confident about their purchase decisions, as their devices enable them to check product specifications, reviews, inventory status, and competing prices.

However, as useful as they are as a point of access for Internet-based services, smartphones typically possess limited internal data storage capacities. Thus, when it comes to the purchase of multimedia and software, “I want it all” consumers are increasingly shifting from physical and download-to-own media toward streaming media and cloud-based software that grant them access to content but not ownership.

Yet, rising smartphone penetration is just one factor impacting US e-commerce sales.

Interested to learn more? For numbers and analysis covering e-commerce sales by merchandise line for 2005-2015 with projections to 2020, as well as pertinent discussion of trends in total US retail sales, legal, and regulatory factors, and an overview of the supply base, see E-Commerce: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. While you’re there, check out Communication Services: United States for more on cellular, Internet, and delivery services.

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About the Author: Matthew Rolfe is a Senior Market Analyst with Freedonia Focus Reports, a division of The Freedonia Group. He conducts research and writes a variety of Focus Reports, which offer concise overviews of market size, product segmentation, business trends, and more.

Topics: E-commerce & IT Outsourcing Consumer Electronics Industry Insights The Freedonia Group