M-commerce’s day is coming: report

A new survey from PayPal and Ipsos shows the growth in mobile shopping will eclipse online shopping as a whole by 2016.

The appetite for mobile shopping in Canada may be on the upswing and could be the dominant form of e-commerce in the near future – as long as retailers recognize what pain points still remain for shoppers.

Ipsos, on behalf of PayPal, surveyed 800 Canadians online last fall to track who was doing mobile shopping in Canada and why, as well as which factors are holding back further growth.

The study also says m-commerce’s prominence may be inevitable. Compound annual growth rate for mobile commerce from 2013 to 2016 is projected to be 34%, compared to 14% for e-commerce overall. Total mobile commerce reached $3.45 billion in Canada in 2013, a number that the study predicts to grow by 142% by 2016.

Despite those numbers, some studies last year, including ones from BrandSparkDeloitte and Nielsen, showed that while m-commerce has been growing, Canadian shoppers have been slow to adopt it.

In the new study, 19% of those surveyed had made an online purchase from their smartphone in the last year, with 15% having done so from a tablet. The frequency at which Canadians are shopping from their phones is also on the rise, with 17% of mobile shoppers doing so more than once a week.

As might be expected, the push in mobile growth is coming from youth. Just over half of mobile shoppers are millennials, who make up 31% of online shoppers as a whole. Of those, 30% make a mobile purchase at least once a a week.

The key to growing those numbers may be in the platforms retailers are offering: while 55% of Canadians surveyed have made purchases from an app and 52% from their mobile browser, 46% of those who have used both said they preferred using the app, compared to 14% for the browser.

Other factors holding m-commerce back range from security concerns (cited by 34% of respondents who didn’t shop on their mobile device) to simple habits (41% said they simply preferred the shopping experience on computer, with 30% saying their computer was the preferred device for internet use in general). In addition, 38% of those that had shopped on their phone said they didn’t do so more often because the screen was too small.

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