What Is M-commerce and What Is Its Future?

For those of you just getting started with ecommerce, you might have encountered the term “m-commerce.” In this post, we’ll look at what m-commerce is and what’s in its future.


You can’t get a thorough understanding of ecommerce today without taking m-commerce into account. But what is m-commerce, anyway? In this post, we’ll answer that question, and look at why this fast-growing subsection of ecommerce is becoming increasingly important for today’s online business owners.

Let’s get started start by answering some basic questions:


What is m-commerce?

The term “m-commerce” stands for mobile commerce, and it’s the browsing, buying and selling of products and services on mobile devices. In other words, it’s a complete online shopping experience, but with all the convenience of being on a cellphone or tablet. As an example, this is Volusion’s free mobile store offering to all merchants using our ecommerce software.


Where is m-commerce now?

The simple answer? Mostly everywhere. With the boom in smartphone and tablet ownership, m-commerce has followed suit.  In 2012, m-commerce sales in the U.S. hit $24.66 billion, which was an 81% increase from $13.63 billion in 2011. More impressively, looking at the 2012 holiday season alone, mobile visitors accounted for a third of holiday ecommerce traffic.

And you can’t look at m-commerce today without addressing “showrooming.” If you haven’t heard of the term, showrooming is when a customer goes into a brick-and-mortar store to check out a product, then instead of purchasing it at that store, finds that same product online and buys it for a cheaper price. The rise of m-commerce has spurred showrooming to grow as well, with 134% more shoppers showrooming during the 2012 holiday season than in 2011.


What is the future of m-commerce?

The most prominent m-commerce trend is its own growth. According to Forrester, annual m-commerce sales are predicted to quadruple to $31 billion in the next five years. In 2012, some ecommerce sites (like Amazon) saw remarkable growth, while most businesses experienced only limited m-commerce success. However, one thing they all have in common is that they now universally recognize m-commerce as an important way to enhance their brand, increase their sales and keep up with competitors. In short, the future of m-commerce is bright, and looks like it’s getting even brighter.

Another trend in m-commerce is that customers desire more information on mobile websites.  Studies show that 80% of smartphone users want more product information when shopping on their mobile devices. A large part of m-commerce’s appeal may be convenience, but if that convenience comes at the sacrifice of information, customers will be sure to look elsewhere. The larger trend here is that ultimately, businesses are in uncharted waters when it comes to their mobile offerings, they’re still finding out what works and what doesn’t.

The last big trend, by far, is the rise of tablet commerce. Much of it has to do with the nature of tablets themselves. With their larger screens and portability, tablets make it easier to navigate mobile ecommerce websites. These features make it no surprise that 55% of tablet owners use their tablets for online shopping, whereas only 28% of smartphone owners shop on that device. Furthermore, tablets in general are growing in popularity. Studies showed that in 2012, about 29% of adults owned a tablet, compared to 13% in 2011. These factors combined have led people to envision a bright future for tablet commerce.  According to eMarketer, tablets commerce is predicted to reach $24 billion in 2013 and make up for more than 9% of all online sales.


With all its growing clout, m-commerce is the rising star of the ecommerce world. By understanding it and keeping tabs on where it’s going, business owners put themselves in the best position to take advantage of all m-commerce has to offer.



Gracelyn was a Communications Specialist at Volusion. She has a BA in English and Philosophy from Rice University, and when not reading or writing, she's dancing, meeting new people or winning staring contests with her cat.

14 Responses to “What Is M-commerce and What Is Its Future?”

  1. potato

    great………it helped me a lot

  2. Malusare Lalita Babulal

    thanks it is very useful . plz can you tell me the trends of mobile commerce in india

  3. Sanjay Verma

    Volusion, you really need to update your checkout process on the mcommerce site. It is a put off for customers that you don’t have a mobile optimised site for checkout. Why not? Also you should be able to include prices with tax. This is not the case currently. Love your platform but please address the mobile side of things sharpish!

    • Matt Winn

      Hi Sanjay, thanks for the feedback. Our Product team is currently working to improve and enhance our mobile capabilities, so expect to see something available by the end of this year. Thanks!

  4. Emily Teachout

    Hi all,
    Thanks for your comments. Here’s what one of our product marketing managers has to say:
    “Enhancing our mobile functionality is one of the key developments on Volusion’s roadmap for 2013. It’s our goal to allow your customers to shop and buy from your store – anywhere, any time. We’ll keep you posted on our progress!”

    We really do value your feedback, and we’re excited for what’s to come in 2013. Stay tuned…
    – Emily

  5. Mark

    Being unable to display products with the correct pricing (ie, not just the GST-free price) is a real weakness in Volusion mobile. Please fix this.

  6. Matt

    Volusion’s Mobile Commerce attempt is virtually useless. You have a lot of catching up to do.

  7. Kay

    I am just building my store, but looked at it on my smart phone and it looks terrible. So am turning it off. Have you an update as to what the roadmap is for improving this?

  8. Steve

    Please let us know what volusion is doing about this. I really on volsuion for a living and just learning now that they are kind of behind the curve is pretty scary. Please let us know the status or at least reply that we know you are working on it and how.

  9. Eli

    The volution mobile store needs a lot of improvement there is not even a search engine for the mobile store.
    And no way to sort items.
    We decided to cancel the mobile store

  10. Mickey

    Volusion has made several posts and videos about the importance of mobile, so clearly they know that it is important, but why have we not seen a better mobile interface? Or any tablet interface?

  11. Mike

    Seems like it should be a top priority for Volusion to make their checkout and cart process mobile formatted. I hope you do soon. We need it!

  12. Steve

    We have a member only store. What is volusion doing so it will roll down to the mobile template. Currently the mobile store is not visible to volusion sites with member only pricing.


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