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Smartphones, tablets to fatten holiday e-commerce sales

Retail e-commerce sales will be up 15 percent this year, and mobile shoppers will drive a hefty portion of that growth, eMarketer says.


Although the e-commerce space is set to see strong sales in the US this year, a large portion of that success will be due to smartphones and tablets.

Total e-commerce spending this holiday shopping season is expected to rise by 15 percent to $61.8 billion, new data from research firm eMarketer shows. Shoppers on smartphones and tablets will account for 16 percent of all purchases made through e-commerce sites. In 2011 and 2012, mobile's contribution to sales stood at 7 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Perhaps more importantly to e-commerce sites, eMarketer expects mobile shoppers to accelerate their use of smartphones and tablets to buy products, with 26 percent of all purchases coming from those devices by 2017.

Interestingly, tablets, not smartphones, will drive much of the growth in mobile shopping, with slates accounting for 62.5 percent of all retail mobile-commerce sales this year. Tablet shoppers in the US will spend $26 billion buying products from those devices this year.

eMarketer's findings are by no means bad news for e-commerce sites. In fact, the company notes that total e-commerce spending in the US is set to reach $262.3 billion this year, up 16.4 percent compared with the prior year. The findings should, however, make e-commerce companies think twice about their strategies and start to leverage them more effectively for mobile devices. If nothing else, it appears that as time goes on, smartphones and tablets will increasingly become the products of choice for shoppers.