The Growth of M-Commerce The smartphone: a device small enough to fit in your pocket, yet so advanced that it can hold the key to your whole life; your memories, your contacts, your daily agenda, becoming the link between you and your world – an actual electronic personal assistant following and helping you at every step of your everyday life. Literally. The smartphone market is booming. The latest IDC quarterly growth figures show Global smartphone shipments jumped 39 % in Q3, with an increase of 17% across Europe. Research Company Canalys also announced a year on year Q3 growth in shipments of 59% in Latin America and 64% in greater China. The smartphones ability to offer services to make people’s lives easier seems endless and after the revolution of geo-location, e-mail, social media accessibility, gaming, banking, flight booking and many more, shopping is now on its way to become yet another service that is naturally associated with the smartphone. What is called m-commerce has been quickly adopted, with 57% of smartphone owners using their phone to check product availability and 50% to buy goods (May 2013, Deloitte UK). According to Michael Ross, eCommerce expert and chief scientist at consultancy eCommera, m-commerce has increased by 55% compared to a year ago in the UK. M-commerce is useful for many reasons but one of the most obvious uses is the ability to shop whilst on the move. Nowadays people are spending an increasing amount of time out of home; commuting, socialising and of course shopping. Smartphones and their many apps come in handy on all occasions, but especially when we are in the process of waiting, whether it be for a train, a bus, a person... and m-commerce is an activity that can be easily carried out on all these occasions. Commuting Now Means Time for Shopping! City dwellers are always coming up with ways to entertain themselves whilst commuting from home to work and back. It seems that the new trend is now to take advantage of the commute time to carry out the activities that we have less time to do, such as shopping. Research carried in the UK by Geometry Global in 2013 has shown that more than half of commuters browse products and compare prices on their phones and 31% go on to make a purchase during  their commute. eBay has recently announced that an item is now purchased every second on their website via smartphone or tablet. With Christmas just around the corner, it seems inevitable that this trend for m-commerce is going to increase in the coming weeks. Gift Shopping Made Easier with Smartphones Research carried-out in the USA by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and its Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence around Black Friday found that parents faced a difficult time juggling their everyday lives with buying holiday presents and hence it was little surprise when the research showed that 90% of parents who owned a smartphone would use the device for help when gift shopping. Most of the activities undertaken by phone revolved around research, including checking availability of items before going to a store (55%), tracking sales at stores or finding items that are on sale (50%) and researching gift ideas (49%). In addition, 44% of these parents expected to complete purchases on their smartphones. Virtual Shops: Bringing M-Commerce to the Physical World The fast growing trend of m-commerce has led several advertisers to work hand in hand with OOH media owners in order to offer city dwellers evermore imaginative ways to shop whilst on the move. 2D virtual shops have been created in underground stations, airports and even bus stops, displaying a range of products and enabling consumers to purchase direct from the display with their smartphone. Danone, Metro de Madrid, Spain 
Jumbo, Metro de Santiago, Chile
Nautica, JFK Airport, USA
P&G, Chicago Bus Stop, USA
SONY, Metro de Madrid, Spain
Tesco, Seoul Bus Shelter, Korea
On the other hand, the growth of m-commerce has brought-on another trend, called showrooming, which has been adopted just as quickly. Showrooming means looking at a product in a shop while using a smartphone to search online for the best possible price for the same product elsewhere. 2D virtual shops such as the ones presented above could be an interesting solution to counteract showrooming as they prompt city dwellers to purchase right there and then rather than go to a shop first and then engage in showrooming. This solution also enables a brand to easily  promote any special offers or to ‘hand-out’ vouchers thanks to the smartphone’s capacities for instant downloads– and let’s be honest, why browse for bargains if they are offered to us on a silver plate? So, how about a virtual shop for the next Valentine’s day? Easter?