Mobile could claim half of online spending in 2013

“Fifty percent of e-commerce happens on mobile devices in 2013,” said Scott Raney, a partner at Redpoint Ventures, when asked to go out on a limb and predict next year’s big surprise in mobile telecoms at the annual Wireless Communications Alliance’s venture capital evening. His fellow panelist didn’t cut off the limb, though. Quite the contrary.

“A large e-commerce player will get to 50% in 2013,” said Kevin Talbot, co-founder and managing partner of Relay Ventures. “I know who it is.”

The event took place on 14 November 2013, a week and a half ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s dangerous to make wild predictions that could be debunked while memories are still fresh, but Raney and Talbot had nothing to fear.

Adobe Systems tracks online spending. They say that this year, 24% of the money spent online on Black Friday’s and 22% on Cyber Monday came via via mobile devices.

Showrooming – going into a store, finding what you like, then finding a better price online – is helping to push consumers toward mobile purchases, and could account for mobile’s higher share on Black Friday, when shoppers are in stores and not at their computers. “It drives Best Buy crazy but it provides such value to the user,” said Tae Hea Nahm, founding general partner of Storm Ventures.

Year on year, Adobe says mobile doubled its share of online transactions over the opening weekend of the holiday shopping season. In 2011, mobile accounted for 13% of online sales on Black Friday and 11% on Cyber Monday. Do it again next year and mobile will account for near enough to half of e-commerce dollars.

Not so wild a prediction after all.