What?  In 2021 m-commerce spend will be 15 times higher than it is today and will account for £1 of every £20 in retail sales.

So What? Research by Barclays Corporate forecasts that "m-commerce" will enjoy a massive boom from £1.3 billion this year to hit £19.3 billion in 2021, in part due to a lack of new retail space.

Just more than half (52%) of consumers already use their mobiles at some stage in the shopping process and Barclays Corporate forecasts an increase on this with advances in technology such as 4G.

During the next five years mobile commerce will enjoy 55% growth, compared with 8% for online sales and 1.6% for in-store sales, while mail order is expected to shrink by 1.2%.

Total 2021 retail sales are set to be worth some £390 billion and m-commerce will account for 4.9% of sales.

Despite the future potential of m-commerce, further research, from retail specialist Verdict, warns that the market is currently being held back by unreliable mobile broadband. UK retailers are missing out on at least £1.3bn as a result of consumer frustrations with patchy coverage, unreliable connections and slow connection speeds driving shoppers away.

The research shows just how significant the mobile phone has become in the path to purchasing, as well as how increasingly sophisticated mobile consumer behaviour has become. Mobile phone operators, retailers and banks will have to work together to put in place the necessary infrastructure if they each want to obtain maximum benefits from this boom in m-commerce.

The impending Consumer Rights Directive is likely to have an impact on developments in this area. The Consumer Rights Directive will need to be implemented in the UK by the end of 2013 on the current timetable. It covers contracts for sales of goods and services from business-to-consumer. Generally, all contracts are covered including purchases made in a shop, at a distance or away from business premises. Please see Eversheds’ recent bulletin on the Consumer Rights Directive for further information on the changes being introduced by the Directive.