The rapid adoption of smartphones and mobile Internet usage is changing the way US consumers shop. Although still nascent, mobile commerce is poised for exponential growth. Mobile retail and travel spending grew by 80% in 2011 and is expected to more than double by the end of this year.

There are various definitions of mobile commerce that include retailtraveladvertising, proximity payments (coming soon), and app downloads, but Forrester combines retail and travel research with an understanding of mobile consumer habits to build its mobile commerce forecast. and Forrester Research administer The State of Retailing Online survey annually to online retailers to understand key metrics in shopping trends; this year's survey focused on mobile commerce and mobile retail execution. Having data from both the consumer and merchant perspectives provides us with a richer understanding of the mobile commerce platform and buying behavior.

As the increase in mobile retail buyers is the main driver of mobile commerce spending growth, we sought to highlight the complexity within the buyer ecosystem when constructing the Forrester Research Mobile Commerce Forecast, 2012 to 2017 (US).  Daily Internet users (a group highly correlated with smartphone ownership) and online retail buyers are much more likely to make mobile purchases than other consumers. The growth in these population segments is largely driven by mobile Internet tenure and increasing comfort with mobile Internet security. In fact, monthly mobile Internet users are seven times more likely to make a mobile purchase, with the highest tendencies among daily users.


By 2017, mobile commerce is expected to quadruple. Travel is currently, and will continue to be, a significant portion of this total spend. Nonetheless, retail will be the fastest-growing category, reaping approximately $25 billion in 2017. Consumers will spend about half of this on media products, which currently dominate the retail landscape. Over time, apparel and consumer electronics spending will see rapid growth, but media products will continue to lead mobile retail spend.