Smartphones and the Future of Shopping

ePN_Mobile_Browsing565 The latest mobile phone and smartphone sales data compiled by Gartner shows two very positive trends for the smartphone. First, sales are growing sharply: In the fourth quarter of 2012, sales were up almost 40 percent over the prior year’s fourth quarter.

But perhaps even more important is that there is plenty of room still to grow. If you move in certain circles or spend enough time on your own smartphone, it can be easy to assume that everyone has one and the market is saturated. In fact, conventional mobile phones – also known as feature phones – still constitute a larger but shrinking share of the global handset market. Gartner predicts that the year 2013 will be the first year that smartphones outsell conventional feature phones.

In other words, if you think smartphones are popular today, you haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait.

Inevitably, this steady encroachment of the smartphone will continue to transform the way we live and work … including the way that we shop.

Today, mobile shopping still accounts for a very small portion of total retail sales and most of that shopping is done on tablets, rather than smartphones. But the numbers are growing sharply. Today, most retailers are still experimenting with the most effective mobile shopping apps. But when you consider the rapid clip at which consumers all over the world are adopting smartphones, it’s hard not to see a parallel to some of the other transformative technologies of the last few decades from the consumer internet to social media.

Just as there was once a time when businesses actually debated whether they needed a website, many retailers today still wonder whether they need to cater to mobile shoppers.  There is no way of predicting exactly how we will all use our smartphones in the future, but this latest data offers some compelling evidence that these phones and their applications will be used a lot.

All this is to say, if you’re thinking about whether it still makes sense to promote smartphones on eBay – there’s no better time then now!