In the G-20 countries, consumers researched online and then purchased offline (ROPO) more than $1.3 trillion in goods in 2010, the equivalent of about 7.8 percent of consumer spending, or more than $900 per connected consumer, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
In the U.S., online retail sales totaled $252 billion in 2010, but ROPO added another $482 billion. That’s one indication of the growing importance mobile commerce now is assuming in the mobile payments and mobile wallet businesses.
ROPO dwarfs online retail in Turkey—$37 billion compared with $2 billion—owing in large part to poor delivery infrastructure and consumer concern over fulfillment, BCG says.
In Mexico, although low credit-card penetration and security concerns over online payments hold back online commerce, Mexican consumers without credit cards can pay for their online
Japan also has a robust online retail market, which totaled $89 billion in 2010. But ROPO added $139 billion because Japanese consumers still prefer the experience of shopping in stores. Across the G-20, ROPO would add an additional 2.7 percent if it were counted as part of Internet GDP.
ROPO provides an indication of why mobile shopping—using a smartphone to identify deals, compare products and prices, and “seal the deal” while on the go—is becoming more important worldwide.
As device prices fall, especially in developing markets, increased smartphone penetration will have a dramatic impact on both retail commerce and e-commerce—further blurring the lines between online and offline buying, BCG argues.