Every night, after finishing the housework and settling her baby into sleep, Zhou Wanyue lies down in bed, takes out her iPhone and starts to enjoy the most relaxing moment of her day by shopping online. "All my shopping is done with my mobile since my son was born in August," said Zhou, 30. "Money is hard to make but easy to spend. It's especially easy when you can do shopping anytime and anywhere with a smartphone." Last month, the Beijing mother used her smartphone to buy more than 3,000 yuan (HK$3,780) worth of apparel, baby toys and household items through applications from Amazon, Jingdong and Alibaba's T-mall. Sometimes, she also asks overseas friends on WeChat, Tencent Holdings' popular social network, to buy her diapers and baby formula directly from Germany. Like Zhou, more and more Chinese consumers are putting their desktops aside and taking up smartphones for online shopping. The trend is expected to help drive the mainland's e-commerce sales and create opportunities for newer online retailers to challenge the dominance of bigger rivals. The mainland is home to 450 million smartphone users, the most in the world, providing a solid base for the growth of mobile commerce. In recent years, the improvement of internet infrastructure, widespread use of Wi-fi and retailers' investments in shopping and payment systems have all greatly enhanced customers' experiences when they use smartphones or tablets to order goods online. "If you shop online and own a smartphone, you will likely also shop on your smartphone and become part of the mobile commerce market," global consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants said in a recent study. The study estimates the mainland's mobile commerce customers will account for as much as 45 per cent of the population in 2020, up from 10 per cent in 2013. The fast-growing mobile online market creates a new battlefield for e-commerce players. While Alibaba's Taobao and T-mall still dominate the mobile shopping market, smaller rivals like Meituan, Jingdong and Yihaodian are catching up fast. Yihaodian, a Shanghai-based shopping portal controlled by US retail giant Walmart, launched mobile device applications in 2011 and has offered incentives like special prices and coupons for smartphone or tablet users to encourage people to go mobile. Over the past three years, the company has seen the number of customers making purchases on mobile devices grow between eightfold and tenfold a year. They now account for about 45 per cent of its customer base. "Compared to [personal computer] users, the quality of mobile shoppers is higher," said Eric Zhang Keshuai, a director of Yihaodian's wireless business unit. "They are less price-sensitive and tend to make decisions faster. They may not stay online as long as PC users each time, but they would usually shop more frequently. Shopping is more like a leisure activity for them." Zhang said apparel, film tickets, coupons, non-fresh food and beverages, small electronic items and appliances were the top sellers on mobile platforms. More expensive products like television sets and cameras were still mostly sold on desktops as people preferred to look at the product details more closely on a bigger screen, he added. Mobile commerce does not only help e-commerce players boost their business, but also opens up new online-to-offline opportunities for traditional services industries such as restaurants, taxis, housekeeping and manicures. Chen Yougang, a partner and research head at McKinsey & Co, said people would definitely increase their mobile spending over the next few years as the technology barriers would be further eroded with the advancement of infrastructure and the improvement of shopping and payment platforms. "The future mobile online market will no longer see one dominant player, like what we've seen in the e-commerce market before," he said. "Professionalism is more important on this platform and those that can detect and meet consumers' true needs in every respect will have a better chance."