Nearly Two-Thirds of Internet Users Now Make Purchases on Mobile

Rapid shift signals volume growth in coming years

May 5, 2017

Mobile purchasing is now the norm.

New data from the Integer Group illustrates the rapid shift of consumer behavior over the last few years. In surveys in 2012 and in 2016, the percentage of internet users who make purchases via mobile device rose substantially, from just one-quarter in 2012 to nearly two-thirds in 2016.

"With nearly two in every three shoppers over 18 now using their mobile devices to shop, brands and retailers need to be more aware than ever of how to tailor their mobile commerce sites to the shopper," the Integer Group said. "Brands and retailers that are not implementing a mobile commerce strategy are already behind the curve and losing business."

The Integer data is in line with eMarketer's estimates for mobile purchasing behavior. The number of US consumers who made mobile purchases grew at an extraordinary pace from 2012 to 2016, totaling 136.3 million in 2016. 

At that level, mobile buyers made up 59% of internet users, eMarketer calculates. By extension, that would work out to a bit more than half the total US population over the age of 14.

As far as penetration levels go, the huge growth of the past few years is now done. eMarketer expects growth in the number of mobile buyers to settle below 10% this year and ease further in coming years.

But that doesn't mean mobile purchasing is settling into low-growth mode. In fact, the volume of mobile commerce sales is expected to more than double between 2017 and 2020. eMarketer expects retail mcommerce sales to grow about 36% in 2017, reaching $157.1 billion. That figure is expected to jump to $337.3 billion in 2020.