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Mobile Commerce Expected to Surpass $100B in 2014. But Are Retailers Ready?

Stocks in this article: AMZN TGT WMT M URBN WAG

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Mobile commerce is expected to surpass $100 billion by the end of 2014, but are retailers really ready to serve customers who are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to make purchases?

According to a report Monday by Forrester Research, 29% of all online retail sales in the U.S. will be transacted on smartphones and tablets by the end of 2014 with sales from the devices expected to reach $114 billion this year and $293 billion by 2018. Sales of media products (video, music and books), clothing and consumer electronics, account for $86 billion of mobile sales, with the other 25% being driven by categories such as travel and foodservice/restaurants ordering, which is not a part of Forrester's definition of online retail, it said.

The growth is driven by the nearly 200 million smartphone subscribers and nearly 100 million regular tablet users, noted Forrester, which expects that adoption rate to continue in the double digits over the next few years with 244 million smartphone subscribers by 2017 and 150 million tablet users by then.

Consumers comfortable with making purchases via tablets will drive $76 billion worth of transactions in 2014; smartphones will drive another $38 billion in transactions. Forrester said in the report that it expects the percentage of tablet buyers to "eclipse" the total percentage of smartphone buyers by 2018 because of the generally larger tablet screens and easier form of use.

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