Mobile e-commerce experienced dynamic growth since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last mile apps, such as Rappi, Merqueo and Uber Eats, played a key role in driving the channel’s growth during the year.
With enforced store closures and consumer reluctance to visit brick-and-mortar stores because of concerns about exposure to the COVID-19 virus, retailers from across channels have looked to leverage the potential of mobile apps to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic. Consumer fears about viral transmission made the development of mobile e-commerce a pressing issue even for retailers that were allowed to remain open during lockdown, such as grocery retailers and chemists/pharmacies.
The deep penetration of smartphones, the extensive range of such devices’ functionalities and their deeply embedded role in consumers’ daily lives have meant that a number of retailers have looked to reach consumers through mobile technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even when sales have been made via smartphones, this has not necessarily occurred through portals or apps, with many stores and businesses achieving sales through social networks, including WhatsApp.
As consumers return to more hectic lifestyles as the threat from COVID-19 diminishes, smartphones will be their primary mode of connectivity. The expanded e-commerce consumer base resulting from the pandemic will, therefore, increasingly engage with online retailing through smartphones.
Through the development of e-commerce pages and apps, producers and manufacturers are getting closer to the final consumer without the intervention of intermediaries or retailers. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic strengthened this process, as manufacturers sought to maintain contact with consumers and generate sales in the context of closed brick-and-mortar stores, home seclusion and increased consumer digital engagement.
While mobile e-commerce has gained significantly in popularity and faces generally favourable conditions for growth, it does face some notable challenges, particularly around security. These include the risks involved in using open Wi-Fi networks to make purchases.
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Mobile Internet Retailing includes sales through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Please note that these sales are also included in the Internet Retailing Channel. Mobile Internet Retailing is also known as m-commerce.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Mobile E-Commerce (Goods) research and analysis database.
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