Yesterday Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in their earnings call that “In the last 12 months customers around the world have ordered more than $1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device.”
This is not the breakthrough point you might think it is for mobile commerce.
There is no doubt that $1 billion in sales from a single company in mobile commerce is a significant number.eBay reported that in 2009, they had $660 million in sales attributed to mobile commerce, and they believe they will jump to $1.2 billion in 2010. These numbers reflect the sale of physical goods sold by eBay. But the Amazon number is a different story. The problem with the Amazon number is it includes sales of digital books purchased via the Kindle ereader.While this is technically mobile commerce in that a good or service was bought via a mobile device, it might need to be segmented out from other mobile commerce.Why?To give a clearer picture of mobile commerce.
The term mobile commerce is vague and can cover a lot of different areas.ABI Research sees mobile commerce as the broadest term for usingcertain mobile devices to facilitate the purchase of a physical or digital goods and services, requiring specialized software or hardware.
So first you have to define mobile devices requiring specialized software or hardware.Are laptops or netbooks with mobile connectivity (not Wi-Fi, but connectivity to WWAN –mobile networks) considered mobile devices in this context?What about media tablets like IPad, ereaders?Generally, I do not count commerce conducted with these devices as part of mobile commerce.The reason is because these devices have adequate processing power, memory, browser capability, screen size and resolution to conduct regular e-commerce. Consumers do not require any special software to make a purchase, nor do retailers need to develop any specialized capabilities.On the other hand, mobile handsets do not, and require specialized software for consumer s and a separate approach by retailers to enable purchases. Kindle and other ereaders do require specialized software and hardware to enable a purchase, so they should be counted.But let’s separate out ereader content sales from the other category – mobile online shopping – so we can have an accurate picture for the marketplace.