In 2015 shoppers around the world will spend about $119 billion on goods and services purchased via mobile phones. That's about 8 percent of the total e-commerce market.
"Mobile online shopping is reaching critical mass," says ABI Research senior analyst Mark Beccue.
"In the United States, mobile online shopping rose from $396 million in 2008 to $1.2 billion in 2009. While definitions of ‘mass market adoption' vary, a more than fivefold increase in one year indicates significant consumer interest."
Noteworthy is that even that $1+ billion turnover in the US is dwarfed by the size of the mobile online shopping market in Japan, which exceeded $10 billion in 2009 alone.
This market is growing solidly in Europe too, and is expected to outpace the US by the end of 2010.
"The driver for mobile online shopping in the US has been the recent sharp spike in smartphone adoption and the corresponding enthusiasm for mobile Internet.
"Also, many more retailers have been launching mobile commerce websites," adds Beccue. A longer-term driver in global terms is the fact that in many less-industrialized regions, mobile is virtually the only way to access the Internet.
Not only does mobile online shopping allow shoppers to manage their time better, but in the fourth quarter of 2009, an interesting trend emerged: consumers were checking out products in bricks-and-mortar retail stores and using their phones for comparison shopping.
A subset of mobile commerce is the trade in virtual goods, generally associated with online gaming. This too has seen rapid uptake, as mobile payments are the best option for online purchases under about $20, and this way of shopping is especially suitable for those - often young gamers - without credit cards.