LONDON: Mobile phones are becoming increasingly integral to marketing, customer relationship management and the purchase process as a whole, Juniper Research has argued.

The company's report stated that this platform is taking on a "central role" in shaping shopping habits in supermarkets and on the high-street, as well as growing into a major retail channel in its own right.

Factors behind these trends include the "explosion" in the uptake of smartphones, the growth of the mobile web, and the greater number of ad formats and marketing options available to brands.

At present, however, significant differences exist between individual markets in terms of their overall levels of development, meaning considerable room for expansion remains across the globe.

Indonesia was named as one nation at the start of the "evolutionary cycle", as currently wireless content specialists like AMob are responsible for the bulk of domestic mobile advertising and marketing.

Similarly, India was regarded as being in a "transitionary phase", as many brands, such as Kodak Express, are now starting to employ this medium as a marketing tool for the first time.

While the US and UK were described as being "more advanced", even in these countries only a limited number of companies have taken a truly integrated approach thus far.

Ocado on the Go, an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch which allows British shoppers to order groceries via their handsets, was one example of how this has been successfully achieved in practice.

Overall, Juniper Research suggested that mobile retail revenues would climb from $4.1 billion (3.0bn £2.7bn) in 2009 to $12bn by 2014, a compound annual growth rate of 24%.

This includes the redemption of mobile coupons, fees tied to information downloads and sales from "smart posters" that users scan with their phones, and advertising on mobile distribution channels.

"At the present time, the market is dominated by revenues from mobile coupons, which accounted for two-thirds of the market in 2009," the report said.

"However, as digital adspend is increasingly transferred into the mobile space, mobile advertising will gradually reel in and overhaul coupons, and will comprise the bulk of revenues by 2013," it added.

By contrast, the share of the market held by "smart posters" will remain modest in the short-term at least, only reaching 1% by 2014.

Data sourced from Juniper Research; additional content by Warc staff