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Surprising Mobile Ecommerce Statistics that Will Change the Way You Do Business

Hang on to your socks. If you care about ecommerce, you’re about to get a rude statistical awakening.

Mobile shopping is huge. And if you’re not doing something about it right now, you’re going to miss the bus. Today, the name of the game is mobile. Not just mobile optimization or mobile search, but the entire mobile experience — from search to conversions.

Get a hold of these statistics, and you’ll never view mobile ecommerce in the same way.

78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase.

One of the most eye-popping statistics from mobile studies is the high percentage of mobile searchers who convert. The percentage of searches that result in a local purchase show mobile winning by a significant margin. Here’s the data from Comscore:

percentage of searches that resulted in a local-purchase

Image from SEL.

Consider how this happens. Three different individuals are looking for “local ice cream shop.” First, there is an individual using a laptop to search. Second, there is an individual using a mobile phone to search. Third, there is an individual using a tablet to search. Which one of these three is most likely to make a purchase at the local ice cream shop?

Answer: The individual on the mobile phone.

Mobile users constitute the most valuable customer segment, because they are most likely to convert. With mobile searching constantly on the rise, it is important to focus on this user segment, and deliver what they need and want.

Takeaway:

  • If you have a local business, make sure you are optimizing for local search.
  • If you have a local business, make sure your website is optimized for mobile viewers.
  • Customers who find your local establishment on mobile will be prepared to convert. Consider providing advantages to mobile users, or to capture leads from mobile visits. For example, if a mobile user finds your local establishment, make it easy for them to convert on their mobile device — i.e., exchanging their information for skipping the line, getting a free gift, etc.

Two out of three customers prefer accessing a mobile website than a mobile application.

Most users want a mobile experience without the barrier of a mobile app. When a user has to download an app in order to browse or complete a transaction, this is considered an unnecessary barrier.

consumers prefer mobile websites

Many users don’t want yet another app. They want the lightweight experience of being able to do what they want to do without that extra step.

Native apps have a lot of advantages to mobile web, but users are willing to forego this in order to have the quick-and-easy solution of browsing directly from their mobile browser. As early as 2012, ABI Research predicted that “smartphone users are around the world would be downloading and using fewer and fewer apps,” as reported by CNN.

Mobile users aren’t interested in becoming loyal customers of your brand or store. They are just looking for a good deal. Flurry, a mobile ad agency, performed a comparative study of app downloads over three consecutive holiday shopping seasons. What they discovered is that the number of downloads during the peak holiday shopping has declined year-over-year.

christmas spike in app downloads

Image from Business Insider.

Local businesses and retailers have to decide whether they are going to develop an app or whether they are going to stick to a mobile-optimized web experience.

Takeaways:

  • Mobile web developers need to use their creativity and innovation to provide an app-like atmosphere, intuitive navigation, and an easy path to conversion. Customers will make purchases on a mobile website. But they will only do so if it’s easier than downloading your mobile app.
  • Mobile websites need to be conversion-ready. That is, it should be easy for a user to convert on their mobile device without downloading an app.

75% of mobile shoppers have used a mobile coupon.

With the rise of mobile shopping came a decline in paper coupon redemption. Who wants to carry around a bunch of pieces of paper, when you can do everything from a svelte mobile device?

Smart mobile marketers, however, knew that mobile coupons were the next frontier. Humans are wired to love discounts and deals. Why not deliver them on the smartphone? That’s why users love mobile coupons. As a study from Key Ring reported, mobile users — 75% of them — are using coupons.

The story doesn’t stop there: “80.4 percent of shoppers said their perception of a retailer would improve if the retailer offered mobile deals and coupons,” as reported by Mobile Commerce Daily.

Takeaways:

Use mobile coupons. Coupons are a strategic way to lure customers in, and an even more strategic way to improve your brand perception. Street Fight Mag shares these five strategies for improving mobile coupon redemption:

  1. Get creative with the discounts.
  2. Focus on the upsell
  3. Use strategic segmentation.
  4. Target shoppers geographically.
  5. Check your offer’s curb appeal.

One third of all ecommerce purchases were made on a smartphone during the holiday shopping season (2013).

Last year’s holiday shopping season was killer for those who capitalized on mobile purchases. Instead of calling it “Black Friday,” Custora dubbed the day “Mobile Friday”. Nearly 40% of purchases on the biggest shopping day of the year were made on mobile devices.

Black Friday is traditionally the day when shoppers wake at ungodly hours, freeze in long lines, and trample one another in an effort to buy big-screen TVs and discounted vacuum cleaners. But who wants to risk life and lose sleep if they can cozily snag a deal in the comfort of their very own bed? Cyber Monday is giving way to a cyberized and mobilized Black Friday.

mobile friday

Image from Custora.

Mobile retailers are taking heed. If mobile is this big, then smart marketers are going to give customers precisely what they want — killer deals for the mobile device.

This is a year-over-year increase of 50%. Given all the other up-and-up mobile metrics, this number is probably going to climb in 2014 too.

Takeaways:

During peak shopping seasons, users have shown their affinity for mobile deals. Connect with mobile shoppers, and make it easy for them to convert. Direct Marketing News advised retailers that “Connecting with these shoppers represents arguably the single biggest opportunity for savvy marketers to position themselves for success in 2014.

Consumers spend more time shopping on mobile devices than desktops.

Online shopping is officially more of a mobile activity than it is a desktop activity, according to Comscore data.

  • 44% of retail Internet minutes are spent on mobile phones.
  • 11% of retail Internet minutes are spent on tablets.

That comprises more than half of all time spent shopping online. The direct of Shop.org made this summary comment on the data:

Since U.S. consumers now spend more than half of their time on retailers’ web sites [sic] using their smartphones and tablets, mobile can’t be viewed simply as an ancillary device or action, it now epitomizes how consumers think and act when they interact with retailers.

Takeaway:

Create a shopping experience that appeals to mobile users. It’s statistically more likely for customers to interact with your website on a mobile device than on a desktop.

The easier it is for mobile customers to make a purchase, the more likely you are to make a sale. Although customers like to browse on their mobile devices, they seem reluctant to close on a purchase. The likely reason for this is that the checkout process on mobile devices is cumbersome and difficult. By increasing the mobile checkout process, retailers can improve their mobile sales.

Conclusion

Ecommerce professionals aren’t ignoring mobile at all. Nearly every study, report, statistic, and article that’s published on mobile and ecommerce has ominous predictions about how mobile shoppers are “on the rise!”

We know that already.

The disconnect comes between knowing it, and doing it. How do we respond?

  1. The first action is to optimize for mobile search. Longtail and Hummingbird queries will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Plus, if you’re a local business, you need to ramp up local search more than ever.
  2. The second thing to do is make your web experience designed for mobile. Give users the best experience on the devices that they’re actually using to access your site. This includes the checkout process. It should be simple for shoppers to make a purchase directly from their mobile device.

If the statistics are true — and I tend to believe that they are — then you’ve got to take action.

About the Author: is a lifelong evangelist of Kissmetrics and blogs at Quick Sprout.

  1. George Theodorakis Sep 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Great article, as always. Eshop or corporate website must be responsive!

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