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Largest retailers to increase mobile investment in 2012: study

Large retailers unanimous in suppport of mobile

The largest retailers have mobile in the crosshairs and plan to increase their mobile investment for the upcoming year, according to a new report from BDO USA.

The survey of chief financial officers at the top 100 largest retailers found that 100 percent of the 10 biggest and 54 percent of the entire list plan to increase their mobile investment next year. Additionally, 86 percent viewing mobile as an opportunity with only 11 percent seeing it as a threat.

“The biggest story is that people are becoming more attached to their PDAs and are using them more in their daily lives,” said Al Ferrara, national director of the retail and consumer product practice at BDO USA, Chicago.

“Shopping has become one of the largest apps and has seen significant growth in the past year or two,” he said.

“Most companies see this as a trend that is going to continue to increase and are jumping on the bandwagon to make sure their sites are well positioned so they can take advantage of the emerging market.”

Mobile commerce a focus
Overall, 54 percent of chief financial officers plan to increase mobile commerce investment next year according to the BDO Retail Compass Survey of chief financial officers.

Additionally, 29 percent of respondents said that ecommerce and mobile commerce will be their primary objectives for growth in the next year.

The report found that retailers are also expecting good things from their online sales channels, with 49 percent of chief financial officers expecting more than 10 percent growth this year. On average, retailers expect revenue from online channels to grow by 11.9 percent in 2011.

The findings bode well for mobile despite the fact that retailers are facing increased costs and projections that overall sales this holiday season will see a small increase.

The report found that 31 percent of retailers increased their inventory levels for the 2011 holiday season while 51 percent maintained inventory levels and 19 percent cut inventory.

“One of the biggest surprises from the study is how fast mobile shopping has caught on and how far it has come from zero,” Mr. Ferrara said.

“The survey demonstrates that this has some teeth to it. Once people see how easy it is, it is only going to continue,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York