The US mobile commerce market is set to explode in the next four years, says IDC. What began in late 1999 with stock trades and book sales will metamorphose into a multi-billion-dollar opportunity by 2004, forecasts the research house.
"One of the most logical extensions of wireless Internet access is shopping," says Callie Nelsen, senior analyst with IDC's wireless and mobile communications research. "Online shopping is gaining popularity on the wired Internet, and despite security issues and concerns from wireless end users, ecommerce over the wireless Internet will also explode."
IDC estimates the number of m-commerce subscribers will skyrocket from fewer than a thousand in 1999 to more than 29 million in 2004. Meanwhile, the value of their transactions will go from being too small to count to close to $21 billion during the same time frame.
Between now and then, m-commerce will have to overcome user security fears. Wireless vendors can help break some of the barriers to market growth by making the wireless buying experience fast and easy, says IDC. They should also explore payment options that don't involve users sending their credit card numbers over a handheld device. IDC cites server-based eWallets as a good alternative.