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Mobile Shopping is Expected to Hit $2.4 Billion in 2010. Why Is This Deja-Vu All Over Again?

February 22nd, 2010

Ah, where would we entrepreneurs be without the naysayers of the world?  According to a recently released report from ABI Research, the multi-national global connectivity research firm, mobile shopping is expected to rise 100% in 2010, to $2.4 billion.  By 2015, ABI is predicting that global mobile shopping purchases of goods and services will exceed $119 billion.  For you finance geeks out there, ABI is predicting a five year CAGR of 118%. 

Yes, mobile shopping is exploding.  For me, an entrepreneur who has been on the bleeding edge of mobile shopping for five years now, this prediction represents a yawning duh.  The cell phone is easily the most personal communications medium ever devised.  We are all addicted.  Our phones are at the center of our lives.  It’s attached to our hips (for real geeks and fashion flunkies, this is true literally).   For many or most, the ‘device’ is the first thing we look at when we wake up in the morning (so much for great morning sex) and the last thing we look at when we go to sleep.  In between, we use it to read email, tweet, check stock prices, weather, Facebook, and yes shop.  Everyone once in awhile we even make phone calls!  Combine all this with the most rash, impetuous, ‘get ‘er done’ generation ever known to mankind and yes, predicting that mobile shopping would be huge is as revolutionary as predicting that the sun will both rise and set tomorrow, except if you live in Rochester, NY where I was born and where the sun never rises or sets!

And yet, in my capacity as CEO of a certain mobile shopping start up, I cannot tell you how many venture capitalists absolutely predicted that nobody would ever buy anything through their cell phones.  It seemed to them that the very thought was retarded (sorry Trig).  I spoke with hundreds of these brilliant financiers.  Lo and behold, they all concurred.   I invoked every single analogy I could.  My personal favorite was to cite an excerpt from the Amazon IPO registration statement filed by that somewhat famous company in March, 2007, right before the very IPO that  ended up making Jeff Bezos one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.  The word-for-word citation from the second risk factor, is as follows: 

“In addition to the other information contained in [the Amazon] Prospectus, investors should carefully consider the following risk factors before making an investment decision concerning the Common Stock….(v) the level of use of the Internet and online services and increasing consumer acceptance of the Internet and other online services for the purchase of consumer products such as those offered by the Company…”

Yes people, it’s true.  In 1997, the [same?] naysayers never thought that people would buy anything through the Internet.  It was all just a fad! Many people know and have heard that the VC industry is sheep-like… baaaaahhhhhh.  Maybe that is why the VC industry is in the crapper. Funds are closing left and right  and dollars invested keep hitting record lows. 

As for my question – where would entrepreneurs be without  naysayers of the world?  Who knows, but I for one would be a whole heck of a lot richer!

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