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Couch Commerce: Mobile transactions to soar by 2017

Mobile-device purchases of digital and physical goods are expected to exceed $730 billion annually by 2017, says Juniper Research.

According to its recent report, growth will be driven by the increasing scale of real-world (non-digital) purchases from major brands and retailers. Companies such as Domino's in the United States and Argos in the United Kingdom are already seeing 6% to 7% of all sales occurring via the mobile channel.

The report also notes that as consumer adoption of tablets continues to rise, there will be significant migration of purchasing activity from laptops and desktops to these devices, with consumers increasingly shopping online while watching television. Indeed, Juniper found that this "couch commerce" trend would result in mobile and nomadic devices accounting for 30% of e-retail within five years. However, the report pointed out that such transactions would "continue to comprise a small minority of a global retail sales marketplace currently worth more than $16 trillion."

"We have already moved towards a multitasking, multimedia environment which offers brands the opportunity for far-greater engagement with consumers than was previously the case. Mobile is increasingly being deployed at all touch-points in the retail process-product discovery, product purchase, customer retention," says Windsor Holden, report author.

In this regard, the report also notes the growing importance of the mobile device as a hub, marrying remote and physical purchases. It cites the example of the eBay Fashion App[lication] and Image Swatch. Here, consumers take or upload a photograph of an item and search for it online. EBay is planning to enhance this app by allowing users to compare prices and item availability online and via partner brick-and-mortar stores. The end user can then pay for the item via PayPal before picking it up at a local store.

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