Increased Mobile Data Traffic Offers Ecommerce Opportunities in Emerging Markets

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Mobile Internet use is growing at a huge rate with mobile devices overtaking the number of people on earth. According to a Cisco study released Tuesday, mobile data traffic grew by 69 percent in 2014. This trend will continue over the next several years with a projected compound annual growth rate until 2019 of 57 percent. By 2019, there will be 11.5 billion mobile devices in a population of 7.6 billion.

According to Cisco’s report, the highest growth rates in 2014 were seen in France and India. French regulator ARCEP reported mobile traffic in France up 107 percent from Q3 2013 to Q3 2014. In India, Bharti Airtel reported mobile data traffic growth of 95 percent between Q3 2013 and Q3 2014 while Reliance Communications reported 75 percent during the same period. China was close behind with a rate of 83 percent.

Increased data traffic seems to support the prediction that mobile payments will grow at a high rate as well. The World Payments Report recently predicted mobile payments will grow 60 percent in 2015. Use of digital assistants also supports the data usage trend as people turn to tools like Siri for online shopping and simple purchasing decisions.

“Last year’s mobile data traffic [2014] was nearly 30 times the size of the entire global Internet in 2000,” according to the Cisco report. “One exabyte of traffic traversed the global Internet in 2000, and in 2014 mobile networks carried nearly 30 exabytes of traffic.” Video is accounting for some of the increased bandwidth use. Video traffic first exceeded total data traffic in 2012 and grew to 55 percent by the end of 2014.

Trends for the global mobile network include a shift to smarter devices, cell network speeds increasing, more wearables and more video use. Speeds are expected to increase from an average of 1.7 Mbps in 2014 to 4 Mbps in 2019. According to the report, “nearly three-fourths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2019. Mobile video will increase 13-fold between 2014 and 2019, accounting for 72 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.”

As these trends continue to take hold, ecommerce may be an area in which service providers can take advantage of mobile data use. In December, Alipay reported over half of payments were received from mobile devices. Despite security fears that come along with mobile payments, increased speed and the availability of more mobile payment solutions will continue to make shopping on a mobile device easier.

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