Everyone knows that e-commerce is a constantly growing part of the larger retail and commerce landscape, but did you know that mobile commerce is growing at an even faster rate?

Given the growing number of smartphone and tablet users, this is understandable, but there are still a lot of e-commerce retailers out there that haven’t been keeping up with the times and are still serving up unoptimized, unresponsive online stores to mobile users that can very easily drive mobile customers away.

Failing to provide a mobile-friendly shopping experience might just be putting you at a disadvantage, given the growing popularity of mobile Internet and mobile shopping, not to mention the multi-screen world we live in today. However, if you’re yet to be convinced by the need for mobile optimization, or you’re just getting started with an e-commerce venture and want to see what the fuss is all about, read on for a quick run through of some reasons why you’ll want to get mobile-friendly as soon as possible.

What Is Mobile Commerce?

To boil it down to the very basics, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is electronic sales and commerce – in other words, e-commerce – using wireless handheld electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. To be clear, m-commerce is not a separate entity from e-commerce: instead, it’s a more specific sub-group of e-commerce transactions that involve the use of smartphones and tablets, instead of desktop and laptop computers.

Growth In Smartphone And Mobile Internet users

The first and most important reason you should care about mobile commerce is simply the fact that more and more people now own smartphones and tablets and connect to the Internet using these devices. According to Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends report, smartphone usage has consistently grown over the past few years, so much so that 30% of mobile users are smartphone users.

Mobile Commerce Sales Are Increasing

According to Internet Retailer, retail sales via smartphones in the United States increased by 101% in the first quarter of 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. In addition, the average order value on purchases made by smartphones increased 12% and conversion rates increased by 29%. What’s more, Forrester, a research firm, predicts that 29% of all e-commerce transactions in the United States in 2014 will be mobile commerce transactions.

As far as actual transaction amounts are concerned, the numbers are also quite impressive: PayPal processed $27 billion worth of mobile transactions in 2013, while Alipay exceeded even that, claiming that it had processed $150 billion worth of mobile transactions over the same period of time.

Conclusion

All of this isn’t to say that “traditional” e-commerce – purchases made on desktop and laptop computers – is dead and that you should move on to m-commerce. The intention here was to highlight the way in which mobile commerce can no longer be ignored, and the reasons why your business and e-commerce venture(s) should be mobile-friendly.

It might be a few years before mobile commerce spending and revenue reaches the levels that e-commerce enjoys right now, but it’s definitely better to get in on it now and ride the wave, instead of having to play catch-up later on.