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The Commerce of Things 2015

The Commerce of Things 2015
published on Wednesday December 09, 2015
How developers and the Internet of Things are about to change the face of e-commerce as we know it

Imagine a world where every object is connected to the Internet. And comes with smarts. Internet of Things and e-commerce have until now evolved in parallel. They are now embarking on a common journey where every connected object becomes a potential e-commerce real estate.

Today e-commerce is already the biggest revenue generator among mobile developers, yet only a small minority have acknowledged it and few have seized it with both hands. We analyse how mobile developers using e-commerce (for physical or digital goods) have median monthly revenues of $1,000-$2,000, the highest across any other revenue model.

In parallel, we review how technological advancements are removing friction points in e-commerce discovery, payment and delivery. Connected buttons such as Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service and Telefonica’s Click & Pizza are early, if telling, examples of things to come. This leads to a prediction of the e-commerce industry future which will be structurally disrupted, as IoT extends e-commerce affiliate schemes beyond websites, mobile, and apps, onto any physical surface.

Find out how developers and Internet of Things are about to change the face of e-commerce as we know it, in the Commerce of Things report.

Key Questions
  • What share of mobile developers have chosen to use e-commerce? What share of IoT developers use e-commerce to sell physical products and how much revenue do they generate using this model?
  • What is the dominating professional orientation among IoT developers? What is their professional background?
  • Which is the most lucrative platform for revenue generation using e-commerce? What does the platform's usage popularity look like for developers?


For the purpose of this report, SlashData has done market research around e-commerce, m-commerce and the Internet of Things, as well as analysed data from Developer Economics 9th edition, which reached an impressive 13,000+ developers. We have also scanned the market for the most relevant use cases, talked to key players active in the field of e-commerce and the Internet of Things, as well as analyzed secondary macro-economic data on the researched markets.

Developer Economics 9th edition, with 13,000+ respondents from 149 countries around the world, is the most global research on mobile, desktop, IoT and cloud developers combined ever conducted. This large-scale online developer survey was designed, produced and carried out by VisionMobile over a period of five weeks between May and June 2015.

Respondents to the online survey came from over 149 countries, including major app and IoT development hotspots such as the US, China, India, Israel, UK and Russia and stretching all the way to Kenya, Brazil and Jordan. The geographic reach of this survey is truly reflective of the global scale of the developer economy. The online survey was translated in 7 languages (Chinese, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish) and promoted by more than 70 leading community and media partners within the app development industry.

To eliminate the effect of regional sampling biases, we weighted the regional distribution across 8 regions by a factor that was determined by the regional distribution and growth trends identified in our App Economy research. Each of the separate branches: mobile, desktop, IoT and cloud were weighted independently and then combined. The survey gathered responses from developers across mobile platforms including Android, Amazon Fire OS, BlackBerry 10, Firefox OS, iOS, Java ME, Jolla Sailfish, Mobile Browser, Tizen, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Ubuntu Phone. To minimise the sampling bias for platform distribution across our outreach channels, we weighted the responses to derive a representative platform distribution. We compared the distribution across a number of different developer outreach channels and identified statistically significant channels that exhibited the lowest variability from the platform medians across our whole sample base.

For more information about our methodology, please get in touch.

Table of Contents

The state of e-commerce developers

  • Mobile commerce: A $600 billion opportunity
  • Smart mobile developers go for e-commerce
  • The Internet of Things: five connected objects per smartphone owner
  • IoT population at 4.5 million and set to double by 2020
  • Making money: a developer community in need of directions
  • Android catching up on iOS in m-commerce

Removing the friction from e-commerce (case studies)

  • Pinterest’s buyable buttons
  • Zalando
  • Amazon Dash Replenishment Service (DRS)
  • Amazon Echo
  • HP Instant Ink
  • Telefonica Click & Pizza
  • Flic, the smart button
  • JCDecaux Denmark
  • Volvo Sensus connect with Park & Pay

The opportunity ahead: the Commerce of Things.

  • An unconnected ‘thing’ is a missed business opportunity
  • Affiliate Buttons
  • Closing the attribution loop
  • Programmatic e-commerce

Research Methodology