2009 Global Digital Economy - E-Commerce & M-Commerce Trends & Statistics

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 27 Oct 2009 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 151

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of digital economy in terms of e-commerce and m-commerce. It offers analyses, statistics, forecasts and key trends for the e-payment, e-banking, m-payment and m-banking services. It provides insight into the most popular online and mobile content and services. An overview of advertising and marketing using digital media is also provided. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also provided.


Subjects covered include:

·         Key elements of the digital economy;

·         Global e-commerce, e-payment and e-banking market overview and statistics;

·         Key online services and statistics;

·         Global m-commerce, m-payment and m-banking market overview and statistics;

·         Key mobile content and services;

·         Digital media marketing and advertising;

·         Brief regional overviews.


Researcher: Kylie Wansink

Current publication date:- October 2009 (2nd Edition)

Next publication date:- October 2010

Executive Summary

The billions of mobile and online Internet users worldwide are creating huge opportunities for the development of e-commerce and m-commerce. The financial crisis has focused global attention on new infrastructure developments and facilitated a unique opportunity to shift the broadband emphasis from a high-speed Internet service to a national infrastructure for the digital economy that will underpin a range of positive social and economic developments. E-commerce is just one sector that will benefit from improvements in infrastructure and a trans-sector approach to governance. E-government, e-health, e-education, social media and e-science are also important elements of a digital economy.


While the economic slowdown is curbing e-commerce growth somewhat in most markets, there is evidence so far that the online retail market has remained steady due mostly to the lower prices and convenience offered via online shopping. Spending on online advertising also continues to grow in the face of economic uncertainty and in 2010 online advertising should account for around 13% of overall ad spending worldwide.


Alternative payment systems are gaining much attention in 2009 as consumer demand grows for different payment methods other than credit cards. As online retailers expand globally they are also beginning to discover that cultural differences may impact upon payment method preferences. For example, in the developing markets where credit cards and bank accounts are scarcer, consumers may prefer to pay in person at a bank or by postal order. Electronic bank transfers and billing goods to phone accounts are other examples of alternative payment methods. As the complexities and security issues surrounding e-payments increase, some online retailers are turning to outsourced payment processing companies to manage their e-payment solutions.


There is a massive change underway in the mobile media market as it becomes unshackled from the operators’ portals that have dominated it for a decade, all without having made any significant inroads into the content use of mobile users. The new capped data packages, fuelled by further competition, will see a total revamp of the mobile media market. It will no longer be based on portals but on direct services by content and services providers via open source phones and mobile-friendly Internet-based services. The next step is the continued emergence of m-commerce and in particular m-payment services.


There is keen interest in m-payment and m-banking among mobile operators in developing countries such as Kenya, the Philippines and India. The revenues are indeed growing, but can this new business also be profitable? The often quoted pioneer success story is M-Pesa in Kenya. While M-Pesa by itself is not yet profitable, it is growing very fast and already makes up around 4% of the operator’s total revenues (up from only 0.6% in 2008). These developments will create a new e-payment system for the mobile market, away from the hefty charges the carriers put on Premium Rate SMS payment facilities. However, there is a limit to the mobile networks’ spectrum capacity, and we will have to wait for true IP-based wireless broadband to become available before the operators can fully deliver on the promise of mass market mobile broadband.


In 2009 the interest surrounding Near Field Communications for m-commerce and m-payments continues unabated, with further trials being conducted around the world. Financial transactions via mobile phones are set to rise substantially in the coming years as banks and mobile operators continue to work together.


Social media is becoming a key focus in the digital economy as the leading players in this sector look to expand their services and incorporate e-payment and m-payment services. This seems a logical move for companies such as Facebook, as they have built up large and loyal customer bases from social networking services. Around 20% of Facebook’s online users now access the service via mobile each month. Its online customer base sits at around 300 million and Facebook is expanding into e-payments/m-payments via partnerships with Zong and Boku.


This report provides a valuable insight into the developments taking place in the digital economy in terms of e-commerce and m-commerce. It includes information and broad global market statistics for the e-commerce, e-payment, e-banking sectors as well as the m-commerce, m-payment and m-banking sectors. The report also includes brief case studies on some of the key markets identified for future growth such as the USA, China and Africa. Regional information on developments in North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific are also included.


Key highlights:

·         PayPal is still by far the most popular online payment system worldwide, with around 45% of its customers based outside of the US. Other interesting models are also emerging such as Twitter’s TwitPay.

·         It is expected that PayPal will contribute around a third of eBay’s overall revenue in 2009.

·         China now has more Internet users than the USA and these two markets, among others, now offer significant opportunities for those operating in the e-commerce space.

·         In most global markets, online travel has been one of the most successful e-commerce categories.


Online travel sector market summary

·         Travel has been one of the largest and most competitive online sectors for at least a decade;

·         There is evidence that the economic downturn has impacted upon online travel spending by at least 10% as consumers and businesses reign in spending;

·         The longer term prospects for the sector still remain strong and while consumers may be spending less, traffic to online travel services remains steady;

·         Over $110 billion is expected to be spent on online travel in the US in 2009;

·         Online travel is also the most popular online service in Asia Pacific, with more growth expected for the region, particularly China, India, Singapore and Japan;

·         Travel websites are evolving from offering simple online bookings to incorporating online video tours, niche destinations, customised alerts and direct customer assistance;

·         Traffic from social networking sites to travel sites is growing and there may be potential opportunities for travel sites to leverage social networks further;

·         The travel industry is also turning its attention to mobile devices as a platform for marketing, booking and paying for travel.

(Source: BuddeComm based on various industry sources, 2009)


·         E-commerce security concerns continue to persist with many consumers still reluctant to impart credit card information over the Internet and mobile devices.

·         The developing markets of Kenya, Philippines and India are currently driving developments for micro-credits and micro-payments and it won’t be long before these models start arriving in the developed markets as well.

·         Mobile banking also found its initial success in the developing world where financial services are poor. The sector was also stimulated by the high charges which banks demanded for conventional money transactions. In coming years, growth will also come from mature markets as consumers turn to mobile phones as an adjunct to popular online banking services.

·         China’s m-commerce market reached RMB1.3 billion ($163 million) in 2006 and is forecast to reach RMB7.6 billion ($953 million) by 2010.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Related Reports

Share this Report

TMT Intelligence

A platform to scale your intelligence tasks

Monitor critical insights with our AI-powered Market Intelligence Platform gathering and analyzing intelligence in real time. With AI trained to spot emerging trends and detect new strategic opportunities, our clients use TMT Intelligence to accelerate their growth.

If you want to know more about it, please see:

TMT Intelligence Platform

Research Methodology

BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

For more details, please see:

Research Methodology

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to BuddeComm's weekly newsletter.