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Mobile commerce, also known as mCommerce, has quickly become a leading form of commerce in the U.S. 

With smartphones and tablets an integral part of everyday life, consumers are shopping, interacting, and communicating with businesses through their mobile devices, no matter where they are — at home, at work, or while they run errands or wait in line.

To understand the many ways in which demands, preferences, and technology are continually changing commerce, here are the top mobile commerce stats and trends to be aware of in 2023, based on the Square Growth of Mobile and Conversational Commerce report.

Consumer interest in mobile commerce is growing

As consumers increasingly want to shop whenever and wherever they are, mobile commerce has emerged as a powerful extension of eCommerce. The ability to make a purchase or connect with a business in a convenient way allows consumers to engage in commerce when it suits them, and Square found that a whopping 98% of consumers want to connect with businesses through their mobile devices.

The use of mobile devices for shopping is also continuing to rise: 30% of consumers reported that they expect to shop more through their mobile devices over the next 12 months. And while women have traditionally been bigger mobile shoppers than men, 38% of men expect their mobile shopping will increase over the next 12 months, compared to just 27% of women.

Smartphones are the preferred shopping and communication method for younger generations

It probably comes as no surprise that younger generations are more attuned to using their mobile devices for shopping. But younger generations are also more interested in interacting with a business through their mobile devices, opening up new opportunities for businesses to reach younger consumers and engage them in conversational commerce.

Square found that millennials and Gen Z are the most likely to shop and make purchases through their mobile devices. These younger generations are also the most interested in communicating directly with businesses through their smartphones — 41% of millennials and 40% of Gen Z consumers prefer texting with a business, compared to just 34% of Gen X and 24% of boomers.

Consumers are connecting with businesses on mobile devices for a variety of needs

The demand for mobile commerce goes beyond just shopping. Consumers reported that they use mobile commerce to connect with businesses in many ways, including receiving appointment notifications (66%), order notifications (65%), text or email marketing messages (57%), text or email loyalty messages (56%), scanning QR codes (46%), texting with a business (37%), and receiving invoices (28%).

As customer demand for mobile commerce increases, businesses have taken notice. Sixty percent of business owners reported that they use mobile commerce to connect with and sell to customers, and another 20% reported that they’re interested in using mobile commerce in the future.

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Shoppers are leveraging seamless mobile payment methods

Transactions on mobile devices lend well to simple payment methods, whether it be scannable QR codes, payment links, digital wallet payments, or paying for goods in installments with buy-now, pay-later methods like Afterpay.

Square found that business adoption of QR codes increased nearly 20% between January and June 2022. While QR codes have been traditionally used by food and beverage merchants, the adoption of QR codes among grocery markets has nearly doubled. 

Consumers have also turned to buy-now, pay-later methods (BNPL) through services like Afterpay to make their mobile commerce purchases. From January 2020 to February 2022, Afterpay spending grew 660%, driven by high-intent millennial and Gen Z shoppers. 

Consumers are shopping and spending on social media platforms

Mobile commerce has helped aid the rise of social commerce, and consumers are buying goods, products, and services on social media platforms in increasing numbers. Consumers reported that they prefer to connect with brands on social media channels, and some will even increase their spending if they feel connected, giving businesses an opportunity to foster a new method of interaction and increase sales and loyalty.

Seamless checkout on social platforms is also essential. Businesses are integrating their eCommerce stores with social platforms to create a storefront, or providing online checkout links to drive shoppers back to their online stores with a single click. Square found that the number of businesses sharing online checkout links to sell specific products on social channels more than doubled year-over-year in the first quarter of 2022.

A personalized, app-like shopping experience matters 

Consumers want a personalized mobile shopping experience, no matter where they browse and shop. According to Google, 63% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps offer them relevant recommendations for products they may be interested in, and 58% feel more favorable towards companies whose mobile sites remember their past behavior. 

But personalization isn’t the only factor driving mobile commerce — mobile accessibility matters, too. Businesses that provide a fast and seamless experience on mobile devices have a better chance of customer conversion, and 29% of consumers said they’d leave a site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs.

ECommerce platforms have recognized the need for personalization and seamless mobile accessibility. Tools like Square Online offer an app-like mobile shopping experience to customers, who can receive personalized product recommendations, save their payment information, and track their past purchases. 

Businesses are seeing positive results from mobile commerce 

As businesses adopt mobile commerce tactics to meet consumer demand and preference, many businesses report that they’re seeing benefits from those mobile commerce experiences. 

Businesses that use mobile commerce said they’re better able to manage customer relationships, they’re saving time through mobile commerce automation, and they’ve even seen an increase in sales, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty.

Specifically, Square found SMS messaging to be one of the most impactful drivers of mobile commerce for businesses. Within the food and beverage and beauty and personal care industries, 50% of customers paid an invoice within five minutes of a merchant sending it via SMS message to their phone.

News kinds of commerce are a key part of today’s customer experience

A consumer’s experience with a business can make or break a sale or future customer loyalty. Roughly 68% of businesses that Square surveyed are somewhat concerned about not being able to effectively resolve customer issues, while 60% of consumers reported that they’ve experienced unresolved issues with a business due to a lack of two-way communication.

As consumers spend more time on mobile devices, businesses can leverage omnichannel commerce strategies to meet them there and bridge gaps in communication. Whether that’s through selling on social media platforms via social commerce or providing customer support through conversational commerce, interaction on mobile devices opens up new opportunities for businesses of all sizes to better connect with consumers.

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