The History Of Mobile Commerce

Can you guess how long the concept of “mobile commerce” has been in existence? People have been making purchases from their smart devices for about 10 years now, right?

Wrong! It has been around since 1997.

But wait, cell phones back then didn’t have Internet, so how could people have possibly made purchases?

At that time, purchases were limited to buying ringtones and services through text messages. The first browsing-like mobile application was introduced in Japan in 1999. The first transactions of tangible goods took place in 2003, as a Dutch department store chain launched a sales campaign through text messages. Customers would have to register online and connect their bank accounts, and they would receive text messages with special offers for featured items. By replying “yes,” the items would be purchased, and deductions would be made from the account via bank transfer.

Later on, browsing became possible with mobile phones. However, websites were rarely optimized for the small screens of the time. It was with the introduction of the iPhone that mobile commerce experienced its first BOOM. That was the start of stronger mobile phones with larger screens, and higher bandwidth. As a result, mobile traffic to websites quickly because 50% or more, depending on the country. In western countries, larger screened phones meant higher conversion rates in eCommerce. In 2014 and beyond, Asians proved to be the most avid mobile shoppers, which may be because in many Asian households, the smartphone is the only device with access to the Internet.

These days, trends in mobile commerce are proving to be pretty interesting. Shoppers are quick to purchase small items like toys, accessories, and clothes via mobile devices. However, they tend to make more technical purchases, like computers and hardware, using desktop PCs. When it comes to the usage of devices in general, mobile phones are used heavily in the morning, PC’s during working hours, and tablets are popular at night.

Ofer Fryman

Ofer is the CEO and one of the co-founders of Syte. He brings in 22 years of expertise in machine learning and deep learning.

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