Indian mobile subscribers to top half a billion (and many of them love Apple) see the future of wearables and mobile payments and what are people doing with their Apple Watches?

Check out the latest mobile data, stats and reports in this week’s MEF market stats round up…

India is on target for half a billion mobile subscribers this year

A new report by GSMA ‘India 2015’ says India has 453 million unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2014 – and will pass 500 million by the end of this year. It adds that the total could reach 734 million by 2020.

If it does, the mobile penetration rate will reach 54 per cent by 2020 and India will become the second-largest mobile market after China.

Predictably there will be a huge surge in smartphone penetration, with many of the newer brands – Xiaomi, Lenovo, Coolpad, Gionee, InFocus, Oneplus, Asus and Meizu – setting up manufacturing plants in India. In fact, smartphone ownership will rise from 149 million in 2014 to 690 million in 2020.

GSMA estimates the Indian mobile market currently supports four million jobs in India, and could create a million more by 2020.

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Nearly eight in ten Thanksgiving m-commerce purchases were on iOS

In the US, Apple continues to dominate mobile shopping, with a new report from analytics firm Custora showing that Apple devices made up 78.3 per cent of mobile e-commerce purchases over Thanksgiving.

The figure was very slightly down on last year, when it accounted for 79.9 per cent. Android’s 2015 number was 21.5 per cent.

Custora tracked more than 200 Web-based retailers and 500 million anonymised shoppers to produce the data. It said 28 per cent of online orders were made from smartphones and tablets.

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comScore: US mobile shopping to rise buy 47 per cent through November and December

Mobile shoppers in the US could spend $11.7 billion this holiday season – that’s 17 per cent of all e-commerce.

Industry market watcher comScore believes US shoppers could spend $70.1 billion via all digital channels as the big spending season approaches. Desktop shopping is expected to reach $58.3 billion.

“The 2015 online holiday shopping season is expected to surpass $70 billion in spending, representing a year-over-year growth rate of 14 percent across desktop, smartphones and tablets, and once again far outpacing the growth of brick-and-mortar retail during the most important stretch of the year for retailers,” said Gian Fulgoni, executive chairman emeritus of comScore.

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Wearables will drive 100 million mobile banking sessions by 2020

The number of banking sessions accessed from wearable devices will increase 10x between 2015 and 2020, says a new report from Juniper Research.

The analyst believes banks must invest in wearables in order to attract customers under the age of 30, who typically prefer mobile devices to branches and the desktop.

Juniper says there are currently one billion mobile banking users worldwide, and one million using wearables. It projects the latter group will number two million in 2020, and will carry out 100m banking sessions over the year.

Juniper Research’s “Worldwide Digital Banking: Mobile, Online & Wearable 2015-2020” does concede that wearable banking is widely perceived as a gimmick at present. But it is confident this will change, especially as wrist based wearables become used for multi-factor authentication.

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42 per cent of mobile searchers want to buy within the hour

Instant gratification ids driving mobile commerce to new levels, according to a report by location-based ad specialist X-ad.

Its 2015 UK Mobile Path to Purchase report tracked 1,473 smartphone users in the UK and found that more than two in five want to buy within an hour of making a search. 56 per cent want to convert in a day. The report also reveals that 64 per cent of mobile searches are in the home, not on the go.

That said, consumers are still making physical transactions part of their mobile behaviour. More than half visited a business as part of their research and over a third completed the transaction in-store.

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Top use of an Apple Watch? Telling the time

Apple Watch owners have lots of options for how to use their devices, but the one they choose most often is the oldest of all.

New statistics say they check the time 30 to 40 times a day in interactions that last an average of 3.8 seconds.

The Mobile Life Research Centre at the University of Stockholm tracked 1,009 incidents of watch use, and found half were to simply check the watch face for the current time.

The second most common use case was to check a notification, usually iMessage, which accounts for 17 per cent of sessions. By contrast, hardly anyone uses Phone, Maps and Mail. They collectively account for two per cent of total interactions.

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Apple’s sales in India pass $1bn in the financial year

Apple posted a 44 per cent increase in sales in India in FY2015, and crossed the $1-billion sales mark for the first time in the region.

The iPhone maker  has more than doubled sales in India in the last two years, revealed filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). Historically, Apple has not focused to closely on India, though it did up its commitment to distribution and advertising in 2012.

Analysts reckon it is the third-largest brand in the Indian mobile market by sales.

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