M-Commerce, definition, rise and future - Front-Commerce

If you work in retail, whether online or in-store, you can’t have missed the rise of m-commerce, even if you’re not quite sure what it is. Let’s go over what it is, why you need to know about it, and how it’s going to evolve in the coming years. 

M-Commerce: a definition

M-Commerce, or Mobile-commerce, refers to shopping through a mobile device. It includes purchasing products or services using smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches. This also extends to in-app purchases. M-commerce was coined almost 15 years ago in 2003 by Pali Research, and it became popular when Blackberry smartphones gained popularity and started gaining traction with business professionals across the globe. Today, m-commerce is basically everywhere and here to stay.

The Rise of M-Commerce

6.6 billion people now own a smartphone. That’s over 83% of the world’s population. In 2016, that number was at only 49%. So the smartphone market has exploded over the last few years, and most people constantly carry this device around. 

As such, retail is evolving. From a once entirely physical industry, retail has gone online and seen huge success with e-commerce. And the pandemic hugely helped the adoption of e-commerce. But now, e-commerce must put mobile users first and adapt their online strategies to include and prioritise M-Commerce.


Shopping, whenever, wherever

More and more shoppers make purchases “on the go”, when in transit or in a queue, for example. As such, retailers must offer a mobile-friendly online experience that is able to adapt to a huge range of mobile devices and varying internet speeds. They must also ensure their online presence is consistent with their in-store experience, as 80% of consumers use their smartphones while shopping in stores.


Engage the younger generations with their favorite medium

Did you know that 68% of teenagers shop online? Or that 73% of Millennials shop on mobile 1 to 4 times per week? With Gen Z, roughly aged 8 to 23,  spending an average of 6 hours and 30 minutes on their mobile devices every day, if you’re looking to reach them, mobile-first is the way to go. Finding strategies to connect with Gen Z as M-Commerce clients is key.

However, having been born in the age of digital technologies, Millennials and Gen Z are also particularly demanding when it comes to their online experiences with the brands they interact with. 40% of users who have a negative mobile shopping experience will go to a competitor. So offering ultra-fast page load time, low data usage, and a smooth omnichannel experience is key. 


Interested in discovering more m-commerce stats? Take a look at our Infographic here

The Future of M-Commerce

M-Commerce offers up a whole new world of marketing and sales opportunities for online retailers. And with the democratization of smartphones that are ever more high-performing and innovative, there’s no doubt that new ways to leverage M-Commerce are on the way. For now, here are a few uses for m-commerce that are still in their infancy and will likely see significant growth over the coming years.

  • Mobile Retargeting
    • Mobile retargeting enables advertisers to contextually target their adverts. For instance, visitors who have visited a specific location or are close to a business will get an active mobile-targeted ad. Compared to other ad platforms, mobile retargeting offers a higher ROI. Therefore, the rate of adoption of this technology is likely to keep growing for retailers.
  • AR or VR on Mobile
    • The last two or three years have seen AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) become the hottest buzzwords. In 2019, 2,2 billion downloads were logged for AR-embedded applications and this number is anticipated to increase going forward.
  • Shopping Assistants, AI, and Chatbots
    • Chatbots are becoming a crucial tool for eCommerce companies for things like assisting customers in making a transaction, providing buyers with product recommendations, and providing customers after-sales services. These 24/7 chatbots are run on artificial intelligence (AI) technology. When the customer service agent is not there, the AI serves as a shopping assistant.
    • The primary driver of chatbot development is undoubtedly consumers’ growing preference for chat messengers. They are accustomed to using chat messengers like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, etc. to communicate with their friends and family. Therefore, communicating with chatbots or shopping assistants is quicker and simpler for them.
  • Mobile Payments and Banking
    • Mobile payments are becoming increasingly common among all age groups. The market for mobile payment systems is anticipated to reach $3081 billion by 2024, according to recent studies.
    • Mobile banking, which refers to the ability to transact money from mobile devices, allows users to send money to other parties (peers, banks, retailers…) irrespective of their location. This allows users to send money anywhere, anytime.
  • Personalized push notifications
    • For example, with PWAs, retailers can send push notifications to promote special sales, to remind their customers that they have items still in their basket, that a new collection has just dropped…


Want to learn more about converting your mobile traffic with a PWA Front-end? Read more here.

So, if we were to recap, what do you need to know?

  • Firstly, Mobile Commerce is growing, fast, and this is not a boat you want to miss.
  • Second, mobile is the #1 way to market to Millennials and Gen Z
  • Third, there are lots of technologies that can be used for M-Commerce. And the list just keeps on growing, so the future looks promising