On-the-go shopping to be worth 'pounds 20bn a year'.
Barclays Corporate research forecast that "m-commerce" will enjoy a massive boom from pounds 1.3bn this year to hit pounds 19.3bn in 2011, in part due to a lack of new retail space.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays Corporate, said: "M-commerce is still a relatively niche channel accounting for 0.5% of total retail spend.
"However, with little new shop space coming into play the real growth opportunities lie on the virtual high street."
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%, the study, based on research from 3,000 UK consumers, found.
Total 2021 retail sales are set to be worth some pounds 390 billion - and m-commerce will account for 4.9% of sales.
Food and groceries are currently the most popular mobile purchase, ringing up sales of nearly pounds 300m for supermarkets and grocery stores this year. By 2021 this figure is expected to top pounds 5bn.
Electricals are the second most popular mobile purchase with pounds 290m due to be purchased via a smart phone or tablet this year and expected to reach more modest growth to pounds 2.1bn by 2021.
Personal care, including hair care, beauty, dental and baby products will enjoy the strongest growth, with m-commerce sales rising from pounds 63m in 2011 to pounds 3.1bn in 10 years' time, Barclays said.