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US mobile commerce (m-commerce) sales will grow 98.6% this year over 2011 to reach $20.85 billion, according to September projections by Internet Retailer. Overall, mobile commerce is expected to account for 9.2% of US e-commerce sales, up from 5.4% in 2011, driven in part by widespread adoption of tablets and smartphones.

A Javelin Strategy & Research report also released in September came to a similar conclusion (at least in dollar terms), predicting that mobile payments would hit more than $20.7 billion this year.

Internet Retailer also examines the “Mobile 400,” referring to the 400 largest e-retailers, ticketers and travel companies based on their mobile sales. The US represents the largest market of this group, surpassing Europe and Latin America. The study estimates that companies in the Mobile 400 will see US sales of $10.85 billion this year, although that projection excludes eBay on the basis of it being a retail platform rather than a retailer by definition.

Excluding eBay, the Mobile 400 will account for 52% of US m-commerce sales, unchanged from 2011.

Top 10 Merchants Grab 40% Of US Sales

The top 10 Mobile 400 merchants alone will account for 39.3% of US m-commerce sales ($8.19 billion), mostly unchanged in share from 39% ($4.1 billion) last year, demonstrating continued concentration in this area.

Amazon.com is #1 on the Mobile 400 and is projected to reach $4 billion in US mobile sales in 2012. Apple has the second highest projection ($1.17 billion) for sales of applications, music, video and e-books. Also expected to finish with strong numbers are Gilt Groupe (#13; $129.6 million) and RueLaLa.com (#19; $67.5 million). Some TV/web crossover merchants appear high on the list: QVC is expected to be 5th in US m-commerce sales this year ($350 million) and HSN.inc 14th, with $110 million in sales. ShopNBC (#26) will reach $60 million in mobile sales.

The Top 10 companies in order of rank are: Amazon.com; Apple Inc.; Marriott International Inc.; Orbitz LLC; QVC; Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; Hilton Worldwide; easyJet; InterContinental Hotels & Resorts; and Expedia.

Recent research from comScore revealed that 80.6% of US smartphone users (85.9 million in total) accessed retail content on their devices during July via mobile browsers or applications, and those Mobile 400 retailers (and eBay) were strongly represented. Amazon Sites was the leading destination with 49.6 million visitors, representing 46.6% reach among the US smartphone audience. Following Amazon were eBay (32.6 million; 30.6% reach), Apple (17.7 million; 16.6% reach), Walmart (16.3 million; 15.3%), and Target (10 million; 9.4% reach).

Other Findings:

  • Internet Retailer projects that in the US, 281 retailers are on track to grow their combined mobile sales by 83.2% to $7.99 billion, from $4.36 billion last year. US mobile travel sales (from 38 companies) will grow 149.5% to $2.57 billion, and ticket companies will post a 171% increase in US sales, to $288.1 million.
  • Mass merchandisers (e.g. Amazon, Walmart) will account for 63% of m-commerce sales across all markets, but only 41.1% of e-commerce sales in the Internet Retailer Top 500 guide (which ranks North American merchants by web sales).
  • Across the markets studied, m-commerce trails e-commerce in some specific product categories, including food and drug (0.86% of m-commerce share vs. 2.31% for e-commerce), hardware and home improvement (0.75% vs. 2.42%), and office supplies (1.22% vs. 4.09%).
  • M-commerce and e-commerce share of sales are roughly equal for computer/electronics merchants (17% and 16%, respectively) and apparel/accessories retailers (11.2% and 12.3%, respectively).
  • According to the Javelin Strategy & Research report, tablets accounted for about $5 billion of mobile purchases, with consumers dishing out on average $10 more per purchase on tablets than on mobile phones.

About The Data: The Internet Retailer Mobile 400 ranks the 400 largest e-retailers, ticketers and travel. companies based on their 2012 mobile sales, breaking out nearly 80 financial, marketing and operational details on each.

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