20+ Essential M-commerce Statistics You Need to Know in 2023
Updated · May 20, 2023
With smartphones taking over the whole world, it was only a matter of time before people started using their devices to purchase anything and everything.
Now that mobile shopping is a day-to-day activity, m-commerce statistics are going through the roof—phones are getting faster and better, and we’re simply taking advantage of all they have to offer.
Today, we’ll cover just how prevalent m-commerce is, how much the industry is worth, and what exactly people are buying via their smartphones. Let’s start by going through some:
Captivating Mobile Commerce Statistics (Editor’s Choice):
- 65% of people own a mobile phone.
- 50% of global ecommerce is completed via mobile phones.
- The annual value of global ecommerce is around $4.2 trillion.
- 64% of ecommerce website visits come through mobile phones.
- 4 in 5 smartphone users have made at least one m-commerce purchase.
- WeChat, with a brand value of $68 billion, is one of the biggest m-commerce apps in the world.
- 60% of customers in physical stores use their phones to learn more about the products.
- 25% of online purchases completed with desktop PCs are initiated via smartphones.
- M-commerce’s bounce rate is around 58%.
What Is M-commerce?
We’ll continue by diving deeper into the subject itself—what are some m-commerce basics, how it started, and how some experts define this interesting concept:
1. Mobile commerce is a term that originated in 1997.
It’s hard to pinpoint who was the first to use it. However, we do know that Kevin Duffey was one of the first to propose a mobile commerce definition, which was “the delivery of ecommerce with the help of wireless technology.” According to Duffey, m-commerce is a bit like having a store in your pocket; fast forward 25 years, and we can see that his expectations were on-point.
As you can now see, m-commerce is a subset of ecommerce, which can be delivered with computers or mobile phones. Back when Duffey started talking about it, laptops weren’t really a thing (they existed but weren’t mainstream due to their extremely high price), so he meant wireless delivery in general.
Today, we’re most likely to describe m-commerce as ecommerce that is accomplished via smartphones, although some people also include laptops in the definition.
2. Duffey and Andrew Tobin launched the first m-commerce server in 1998.
(Source: Web Archive)
This was when mobile commerce started to gain traction. Soon after that, the first digital m-transactions were made, with Finland being the pioneer country. These were downloadable commercial ringtones that you could pay for from the comfort of your armchair, provided you lived in Finland back then.
There have already been some experiments with mobile payment in the country back in 1997. You could find Coca-Cola vending machines that accepted payment via SMS! The location isn’t a coincidence—these small breakthroughs were welcome as for a long time, Finland was the world leader in mobile phone technology (largely thanks to Nokia).
M-commerce vs. ecommerce
Since these two concepts are pretty related, we’ll now briefly introduce some essential ecommerce stats and see how they fit in the mobile ecommerce scenario. We’ll also consider what the difference between ecommerce and m-commerce is exactly:
3. M-commerce accounts for 50% of ecommerce.
If you want to know what percentage of online shopping is done on mobile, the answer is—half (50%)!
Mobile commerce growth is perhaps the most evident in China. This is a pretty fascinating phenomenon—20 years ago, hardly anyone in China even had a personal computer. With the country developing and using its immense production powers, making smartphones for the whole world, this drastically changed. Smartphones (primarily Android) are easily available to the Chinese, while personal computers remain less prevalent.
The Chinese population gladly accepted new technology—as of 2021, there were more than 1 billion smartphone users in China. Moreover, by 2026, this number is expected to reach 1.3 billion.
4. In 2020, global ecommerce was worth $4.2 trillion.
Keep in mind that these are total global stats for electronic transactions. Do you know what percentage of people use ecommerce? That’s about one-fourth of the whole population! Pretty impressive, right?
5. The US M-commerce market size makes up $431 billion of the total $870 billion of ecommerce sales.
We can see the relationship between ecommerce and m-commerce in the US is similar to their global one. Mobile commerce accounts for 50% of total e-transactions in the States.
6. In 2019, 64% of visits to ecommerce websites come via mobile phones.
Retailers have quickly adapted to this trend and are investing heavily in responsive websites and designs. Moreover, mobile banking has long ago become a thing, easing the payments made through your Android or iOS device.
The industry has snowballed in the past few years. The reasons are numerous, and some key ones are linked to the development of solid m-commerce platforms such as IBM mobile commerce (in the US) and WeChat (in China):
7. More than 500 million Chinese use their smartphones to make payments.
Mobile commerce growth is the most conspicuous in China. People are constantly using “WeChat Pay” or “AliPay,” two of China’s most popular apps for mobile payments. It’s not unusual to see even street sellers accept mobile payments done by simple QR code scans.
WeChat is especially important as it’s sort of a crossover between a payment platform, Facebook, and Instagram—it’s China’s “all in one app.” If you do the math (or not because we’ve done it for you), you’ll see that the m-commerce penetration rate in China is around 40%.
8. US citizens spend $8,000 yearly on average via payment apps.
UK citizens spend $7,000 through payment apps, while Chinese only spend $2,300. We can most likely contribute this contrast in spending between China and the UK and the States to the difference in GDP per capita.
9. Mobile payment penetration rate in South Korea is 29.9%.
We now know China is pretty far ahead. South Korea follows closely with $2,000 spent yearly on average. Next on the list are: Vietnam—29.1% ($74), Norway—26.1% ($6,820), the UK—20% ($7,000), India—20% ($80), Spain—18.8% ($1,800), the US—17.7% ($8,000), Germany—14.5% ($1,550), and Italy—8.3% ($4,265).
You may have noticed that countries that are considered developing (e.g., Vietnam, India) have high penetration rates. That’s due to the global trend of increasing smartphone and other innovative technology availability.
10. However, the most considerable M-commerce penetration rate globally is Kenya’s (84%)!
Statista’s 2020 m-commerce stats for Africa are our source to declare Kenyans as the most receptive to commerce opportunities offered by smartphone technology. Actually, many African countries boast high penetration rates—Nigeria has a rate of 60%, South Africa has 21%, and Egypt—has 19%.
However, it’s important to note that the availability of a stable internet connection and modern smartphones is still somewhat limited in these countries. In fact, only 23% of the Kenyan population uses the internet. The same is valid for 34% of Nigerians, 68% of South Africans, and 72% of Egyptians. To put things into perspective, it’s likely that around 68 million Nigerians, 70 million Egyptians, 42 million South Africans, and 10 million Kenyans actively engage in m-commerce.
11. M-commerce payments will reach $4.5 trillion by 2024.
The m-commerce market size continues to rise at such a high speed that predicting its maximum size has become impossible. There’s virtually no limit to what you can buy online anymore. With phones becoming an indispensable part of everyday life and with the increasing efficiency and swiftness of deliveries, it’s not nearly impossible that in the next 10 or 20 years people will choose to “save time” by paying someone else online to do all their tasks for them.
12. 4 in 5 mobile phone users have made at least one M-commerce purchase.
That’s 79%, to be exact. Keep in mind that these m-commerce statistics are from 2021, so chances are, this percentage is already more significant and will continue to rise further in the years to come (as is generally the case with such industries).
13. By 2024, 70% of all ecommerce sales will be completed via mobile phones.
That makes for a whopping 40% increase compared with the current m-commerce statistics. Naturally, this will even further change how businesses approach customers. Advertising, user experience, marketing, etc., will be done according to mobile phones' requirements and limits.
With technology progressing, new business opportunities also arise. Who knows, maybe in a few years, we’ll be seeing holographic ads (and get annoyed by them), or perhaps our phones will be able to predict our intentions and needs, even before we’re aware of them? Pretty scary, huh?
14. The introduction of M-commerce increases the amount of money spent and the frequency of purchases.
According to experts from Northwestern University, m-commerce enables users to spend more money overall. It’s safe to say that the convenience of mobile shopping simply makes us prone to buying more goods online. Our smartphones are always available to use wherever we are, so we can start buying as soon as we want.
One could even speculate that our impulsiveness and mobile shopping are the winning formula. Additionally, when we are searching for a product on our PCs, it’s more than likely that we’ve already researched and planned our purchase with our phones (though this can sometimes entail a wrong financial decision).
So far, we’ve covered some essential mobile commerce statistics and facts about the industry in general. Let’s get into specifics—we shall now focus on some of the most influential m-commerce companies and how they’re shaping this field:
15. WeChat, released in 2011, is by far the most significant M-commerce app in the world.
It’s hard for outsiders to imagine just how important this app is in China. People use it to post their opinions, share content with friends, pay their bills, buy fast food from street sellers, even play games, etc. Everyone is using it—you can even find sellers accepting WeChat payments in faraway rural regions of the country.
When we say everyone, we mean literally that—it has 1.26 billion monthly users (around 80% of China’s population)! Granted, not all come from China, but the great majority do. Also, if Tencent (WeChat’s founder company) decides to expand aggressively, we could be looking at global domination. After all, its brand value (for now) is around $68 billion.
16. SAP Commerce Cloud is one of the strongest M-commerce shopping companies, with $282 million in revenue for 2018.
(Source: Digital Commerce 360)
SAP Commerce Cloud (formerly SAP Hybris) operates with the omnichannel business model, dealing with wireless devices, mobile computing, and mobile commerce (among other things). This means that they design the whole customer experience of coming into contact with the brand, including, as an essential aspect, mobile shopping. SAP’s total revenue equals $27.8 billion, which is comparable to that of Salesforce—another vital player in the market.
17. Salesforce Commerce Cloud generates around $5.38 billion per year (2021).
(Source: Back Linko)
Salesforce (the parent company) has a total annual revenue of around $21 billion—a bit less than SAP’s. Still, SCC generates way more than SAP CC on its own.
18. Synchrony (ex-GPShopper) is a small but significant M-commerce player, with $14 million in revenue.
(Source: Zoom Info)
GPShopper, now Synchrony, works in the retail, auto, health, home, and travel industries. As is the case with the other two mobile shopping companies mentioned above, Synchrony is not simply providing a mobile payment platform but instead takes care of the whole customer experience. In this case, the company deals with customer loyalty by offering personalization for every client.
19. Shutterfly’s mobile website is arguably the best one on the market.
(Source: Blog Hubspot)
Shutterfly allows users to create their own photo books, wall arts, personalized gifts and prints, and so much more. According to Fortune, the company makes around $2 billion each year, employing more than 7,000 people.
It essentially is a sharing platform akin to Shutterstock, where creators can make money by posting and selling their work online. It’s much more commercialized, though, with various products one can create. That explains the large number of employees—most of them don’t necessarily make that much money and are not working full-time. We could compare the ratio between the employee count and revenue with Facebook, which has around 70,000 workers and an $85 billion revenue.
What percent of online retailers now have m-commerce websites? It’s safe to say that having a mobile version for your website is an absolute must in today’s market. However, many companies still don’t pay attention to such trends and rules. Go figure!
20. Etsy has one of the best and most popular mobile website versions.
(Source: Blog Hubspot)
We’ve already emphasized how m-commerce is primarily facilitated by having a good website for Android and iOS. Etsy is another company that capitalizes on this—it provides an online platform for selling handmade and vintage items, including but not limited to jewelry, bags, clothing, toys, and art. Considering its annual revenue of $1.72 billion, it’s safe to say it’s been doing so pretty successfully. Shopping on mobile has undoubtedly never been easier with Etsy!
Mobile Commerce Trends
It’s time we considered some of the most important and interesting mobile ecommerce trends—we’ll learn exactly how customers use their phones to make online purchases, what’s the m-commerce bounce rate, and many more juicy details:
21. Up to 60% of customers use their mobile phones to search for product information while in a store.
(Source: Retail Dive)
Retail Dive’s study confirms something we’ve all known (and most likely experienced)—most people use their phones to find information about a product even when they are in the physical store. The percentage of consumers using mobile devices in retail stores shows just how pervasive and ever-present m-commerce has become.
Other surveys further validated the implication of this one—only 35% of customers in retail stores are willing to consult in-store personnel. Some may say that we’re growing increasingly distant because we have phones. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle—it’s not that we don’t want to communicate with others, it’s that using a mobile phone is so much more convenient and informative, not to mention saving time and energy.
22. 53% of customers use their phones in retailer stores to check and compare prices.
(Source: Retail Dive)
Here’s a breakdown of other interesting m-commerce trends: 40% use phones to access and download digital coupons; 33% access the retailer’s app; 22% use them to scan QR codes.
When we break these stats concerning the age of customers, we detected an expected mobile shopping trend—older people tend to engage in m-commerce somewhat less often than younger people. However, the difference is not overly prominent. Moreover, they are significantly more likely to use their phones to access coupons, showing their willingness to save money and get a better deal.
23. 25% of desktop PC online purchases started on a smartphone.
(Source: Retail Dive)
Inversely, 35% of sales completed on a smartphone were initiated via a desktop PC. This is possibly the most crucial mobile ecommerce trend—people use a variety of devices to buy things online, and it’s integrating the customer experience across different channels that will determine the success in practically any industry today. That’s why most m-commerce companies are said to be working on omnichannel—integrating all the possible channels through which the customers can communicate with a brand.
24. Bounce rate for online mobile shoppers is around 58%.
(Source: Retail Dive)
Considering that the bounce rate for ecommerce, in general, is around 47%, we can see that mobile shoppers are somewhat more likely to “bounce” than the broad ecommerce customer base. The bounce rate for other devices is 43% (desktop PC) and 45% (tablet).
Provided that the bounce rate difference for various devices isn’t that high, there’s probably a reason why mobile commerce has a slightly larger bounce rate than other devices—once again, convenience and impulsiveness. While it’s more likely that you’ll initiate a search for a product via a mobile phone because you saw an attractive ad or it just occurred to you, it’s precisely due to this that you’re more likely to bounce—you’ll see a different add, you’ll decide that you don’t want to purchase a product, etc.
Interestingly, the bounce rate for ecommerce across industries is usually between 40% and 50%: 52.1% (groceries), 51.5% (home supplies and tech), 50.5% (energy), 50.1% (cosmetics), 47.3% (travel), 45.8% (luxury), 43.4% (financial services), 42.3% (apparel).
There you have it! You now know just why mobile commerce is the major driver of the ecommerce industry and also why companies should keep a close eye on such m-commerce statistics and use them to increase their sales and improve the integration of customer experience across all channels.
But these mobile commerce statistics also point to a slightly different trend—our love for convenience and our tendency to make impulsive decisions. These are among the main reasons mobile phones have immensely increased ecommerce sales. How you’re going to use this information, it’s up to you!
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.