New data from Juniper Research has revealed that the number of annual purchases made via mobiles, tablets, desktops and other connected devices should reach 125 billion annually by 2018, up by more than 60% on this year's total.
The research, argued that medium term growth would be driven by a variety of factors including a rise in "commuter commerce" (on-the-go purchases) which would itself be fuelled by greater deployments of Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity on public transport. It also observed that digital transaction volumes would be further bolstered with the continued transition from physical formats (such as DVDs and CD-ROMs) to digital, and the rise in streamed subscription services.
China Overtakes US in eRetail Sales
Meanwhile, the new research - Mobile & Online Purchases: Cards, Carrier Billing & Third Party Payment Platforms 2015-2020 - highlighted the dramatic surge in Chinese eRetail, with Alibaba attracting more than 330 million buyers during 2014. It observed that with nearly $450 billion in eRetail sales during 2014, China had comfortably surpassed the US ($296 billion) to become the largest single market, with Japan, the UK and France completing the top 5.
Data Breaches Damage Consumer Confidence
However, the research cautioned that several high profile data breaches at retailers had resulted in significant consumer unease. As research author Dr Windsor Holden observed, "At worst, data breaches can lead to significant customer churn, together with possible remuneration requirements. Consumers need to be reassured that their vital information is not being compromised or shared."
Other findings from the research include:
Retailers need to deliver a consistency of message, branding and shopping experience across all channels.
Retailers should also ensure that they scale up the resources on offer at peak periods (eg Black Friday or when promotions are being offered), to cope with the likelihood of additional pressures on online customer support.