When it comes to the changing mobile economy, not only has its effect on business evolved, but how we define it has as well. In many instances, "mobile commerce" only referred to the revenue generated by app stores. However, as free and "freemium" - no cost programs that use an in-app purchase model for a better experience - and new business strategies like those used by Uber have made measuring the true nature of the mobile economy more complex.
First and foremost, we still need to consider application downloads. According to a report from Canalys earlier this week, app downloads increased 11 percent in the first quarter of 2013. In that time frame, a total of 13.4 billion programs were downloaded and in-app purchases topped $2.2 billion. That is an increase of 9 percent over last year. Canalys's Tim Sheppard estimates that app downloads will exceed 20.5 billion in the final quarter of 2013, bringing revenues to $3.1 billion.
In a different report, eMarketer made some projections about mobile commerce and expects total revenue - excluding ticket travel sales - to reach $38 billion by the end of the year. According to the study, in 2012 mcommerce accounted for $25 billion and nearly 11 percent of total U.S. retail eCommerce. By 2016, that number could reach as high as $87 billion.
As far as those travel sales go, PhoCusWright released a study that projects annual mobile travel revenues to triple between 2012 and 2014 to reach $25 billion.
When these three projections of separate streams of mobile revenue are combined, the mobile economy is projected to bring in roughly $66 billion by the end of 2013 and that number is only expected to increase in the years to come. That is the reason that many merchants should be looking to make mobile commerce a standard part of business protocol.