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Mobile commerce grew 31 percent in 2013’s first quarter

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mobile commerce growthAccording to the latest IBM Online Retail Index, shopping with smartphones and tablets is growing fast.

Driven primarily by shopping over tablets, mobile commerce sales rose by 31 percent in this year’s first quarter, as multi-channel buying has become one of the most popular ways to learn about and purchase products.

At the same time, the same data indicated that retail sales in stores rose by 3.7 percent in that same time.

These figures are from the latest IBM Online Retail Index, as well as from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Together, their information has shown that though there was a 3.7 percent climb in sales in retail stores, there has also been a growth in overall online shopping of 20 percent in the first quarter. It was mobile commerce that took the cake at its 31 percent from January through March, this year.

This shows that mobile commerce greatly outpaced the growth in sales that occurred in the stores themselves.

In fact, mobile commerce did better than in-store sales at a rate of nearly 10 to 1. Purchases made over smartphones and tablets made up approximately 17.4 percent of all online sales, according to the data from the IBM report.

In the United States, overall retail sales (not including vehicles, auto parts, gas, food, and travel) came to about $542.9 billion in this year’s first quarter. These figures are from the Advance Monthly Sales report from the U.S. Department of Commerce, which presents preliminary retail sales data.

Though the official figures regarding online sales won’t be available from the Department of Commerce until the end of May, that agency did suggest that mail order and online shopping sales, together, came to an estimated $117.75 billion, that quarter. This means that if IBM’s mobile commerce data is correct, then it means that smartphone and tablet based purchases will have come to somewhere between $5.7 billion and $8.75 billion in that quarter.

The report suggests that the growth in mobile commerce is a reflection of the ability of marketers to design a positive experience for customers who are shopping, particularly when they are using their tablets to do so.

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