Annual purchases made via mobiles, tablets, desktops and other connected devices should reach 125 billion globally by 2018, fuelled by an increase in "commuter commerce", according to new data by Juniper Research.
Online buying will grow by more than 60 per cent by 2018 as compared to this year's total, to reach 125 billion purchases per year, Juniper predicts.
According to the research firm, the key driver behind this growth will be a rise in "commuter commerce" - purchasing via mobile devices while on the go. This trend in turn will be supported by increased deployments of Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity on public transport; while the shift from physical technology such as DVDs and CDs to the digital sphere - for example streaming - will also encourage on the go buying.
Juniper also predicts online purchasing in China to boom, having already overtaken the US as the biggest single market. With nearly US$450 billion in e-commerce sales during 2014, China surpassed the US market of US$296 billion. In China, Alibaba alone saw over 330 million buyers use its platform in 2014. Juniper says Japan, the UK and France complete the top five largest markets worldwide.
However, despite the promise the e-commerce market holds worldwide, Juniper warns that security is a key issue for consumers, with recent data breaches at retailers causing consumer unease with online shopping.
"At worst, data breaches can lead to significant customer churn, together with possible remuneration requirements. Consumers need to be reassured that their vital information is not being compromised or shared," said Juniper research author Dr Windsor Holden.