Design & Development

Top Retailers Going Mobile Fast

America’s top retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target, are enjoying significant mobile traffic as 4 in every 5 smartphone owners access retail ecommerce sites in a typical month.

Internet trend tracking firm comScore reported the results of a July 2012 study last week, indicating that some 85.9 million Americans aged 18 or older shopped online from a mobile web browser or an application running on Android, the RIM operating system, or Apple’s iOS. Windows Mobile users were not considered in the comScore data.

Top Retailers Enjoy Significant Mobile Traffic

Amazon’s sites were the most popular destinations, enjoying some 49.6 million mobile visitors, which is approximately 46 percent of all smartphone users in the U.S., according to comScore. Similarly, about 32.6 million mobile visitors looked at products on Ebay sites, meaning that the auction service and online retailer reached 30.6 percent of American smartphone users, excluding Windows Mobile users.

Apple had almost 17.7 million mobile visitors. Walmart had nearly 16.3 million mobile visitors, and Target’s website had more than 10 million mobile visitors in July 2012, again, according to comScore.

Unique U.S. Visitors 18 or Older Using an Android, Rim, or Apple Smartphone in July 2012, for Selected Retailers. Source: comScore.
Retailer Unique Visitors (Millions) Percent of Total Market
Amazon Sites 49.6 46.6%
Ebay 32.6 30.6%
Apple 17.7 16.6%
Wal-Mart 16.3 15.3%
Target 10 9.4%
Best Buy 7.2 6.7%
Ticketmaster 5.7 5.3%
CVS 4.5 4.2%
The Home Depot 4.4 4.1%
Blockbuster 4 3.8%
Barnes & Noble 3.8 3.6%
Walgreen 3.7 3.0%
Limited Brands 3.3 3.1%
Lowes 3.3 3.0%
Etsy 3.2 3.0%

The majority of mobile shoppers used Android-based smartphones by a margin of nearly 14 million users, according to comScore, with approximately 48 million of those American smartphone users who did visit a retail site in July 2012, doing so from an Android device. Apple iOS was in second with nearly 35 million users, although a greater percentage of iPhone owners (90.6 percent) shopped online compared to the similar percentage of Android phone owners (82.1 percent).

Top Retailers Focus on Mobile

All of the top American retailers listed in the comScore study have made focused efforts to engage mobile shoppers. Although these retailers also enjoy significant advertising and marketing budgets and relatively good brand recognition, the mobile channel efforts can only be helping these retailers to boost mobile traffic.

As a specific example, Amazon, the mobile traffic leader, released a Price Check app for smartphones that allows shoppers, even shoppers inside of a brick-and-mortar retailer, to easily compare prices online. This application is almost certainly an important part of Amazon’s mobile traffic.

“With nearly 86 million Americans now shopping on their smartphones, this pronounced shift in consumer behavior is simply too large for retailers to ignore, with the future of their business depending on how well they adapt to the new environment,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile in an official statement. “But adapting isn’t always easy, especially when considering the complexity of the mobile environment, which requires optimizing the experience across multiple platforms and for both mobile websites and apps. The retailers who best understand how consumers are engaging in mobile shopping behaviors and design their strategies accordingly will be best positioned to capitalize on these shifting market dynamics.”

Small and Mid-Size Retailers Increasing Mobile Focus

A September survey from, the ecommerce wing of National Retail Federation, found that the typical retailer intended to invest about $207,000 into mobile initiatives — including the tablet channel. This is up from an average of $55,000 invested into mobile channel growth in 2011.

The survey also found that about 60 percent of retailers had done some form of mobile optimization.

“It’s easy to forget that mobile retailing is still in its infancy, and unlike what we saw with ecommerce ten short years ago, mobile is almost entirely consumer-driven,” said executive director Vicki Cantrell. “As mobile grows, so too will retailers’ investments in technologies that make sense for their shopper, but to get to that level of commitment, retailers must first take smart, calculated steps to maximize the mobile shopping experience both now and in the future.”

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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