Practical Ecommerce

3 Important Mobile Commerce Trends

Tablet-based purchases, an explosion in video watching, and shopping activity of men are among the hottest mobile commerce trends that could impact how online retailers market and sell.

Mobile commerce — mcommerce — is the fastest growing retail segment as more shoppers make purchases from smartphones and tablets. Mobile trends, therefore, will almost certainly impact ecommerce. What follows are three trends important to online retailing.

1. Tablets Drive Mobile Sales

About 12 percent of U.S. ecommerce purchases were made from smartphones and tablets in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to trend-tracking firm comScore.

“Tablets are the driving force behind this transaction share explosion, as the ease of use and shopping experience on a tablet device lends itself rather well to actual purchase behavior and more closely approximates the desktop buying experience than smartphones,” said comScore. “In fact, the mobile spending trend acceleration appears to coincide with the more mainstream adoption of tablets in 2011.”

A separate 2011 Google study found that 43 percent of tablet computer users sent more time on their tablets than they did on a desktop computer. What’s more, nearly 33 percent of tablet users spent more time with a tablet than a television. And a 2012 Adobe study that found that 43 percent of tablet owners said they liked to shop using their tablet.

According to eMarketer, “the rapid rise in mcommerce sales on tablets means that such purchases will account for 9.4 percent of all retail ecommerce sales this year, and 16.9 percent of the total by 2016. Smartphones, which initially had a lead due to earlier adoption, will contribute 5.3 percent of retail ecommerce sales this year.”

This trend may impact where and how marketers promote products in the mobile channel. For example, sale offers could make more sense on tablets while price comparison offers might make more sense for smartphones.

2. Tablet Users Love Video

Mobile video consumption rose more than 10 percent during Q4 2012, according to Adobe’s U.S. Digital Video Benchmark study released earlier this year.

“Tablet viewers, in particular, are early adopters who typically spend more money, book more trips, and consume more media content,” Adobe said in its study findings.

In addition, Business Insider Australia reported that video consumption was a primary reason for tablet use in 2012 and pointed out that tablet users were more likely than smartphone users to watch video.

Given that video has been shown to significantly boost ecommerce conversions, marketers aiming at tablet users may want to consider including more and better product videos on their sites and in marketing campaigns.

3. Men Are Mobile Shoppers

A new report released this month found that men are more likely to use a mobile device to make an online purchase than are women. The data is, perhaps, counterintuitive since many online marketers believe that women are generally more likely to make retail purchases. But there is apparently something alluring to male customers about shopping on mobile devices — perhaps from a train on the commute home or from a couch during a television commercial.

Men are more likely to shop from a mobile device than women are.

Men are more likely to shop from a mobile device than women are.

In the U.S., 15.9 percent of men and 13.3 percent of women were interested in making mobile commerce purchases, according to the data from Kantar Media’s Global TGI survey. In the U.K., 12 percent of men had an affinity for mobile shopping compared to about 10.3 percent of women.

The data could impact how retailers market in the mobile channel and how the mobile channel is used to reach male shoppers.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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