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Mobile phones are changing the way consumers shop. With a device always at hand, researching and price comparing is a possibility anywhere at any time. Though most shoppers still purchase in-store, ecommerce sales continue to consume larger and larger chunks of retailers' totals. And as consumers become more reliant on their devices, especially their go-everywhere-do-everything smartphones, mcommerce comprises an even larger part of the ecommerce pie.
Smartphones and tablets accounted for 43% of all site visits in Q3 2014, according to MarketLive's "Q3 2014 Performance Index." The study also found that they made up one-fourth of all ecommerce revenue in the quarter as well. But it's smartphone traffic and revenue that climbs ever higher: Smartphone traffic grew by 62% year-over-year, the study showed, and revenues shot up 141%. The biggest smartphone revenue gains were in the beauty and health sector (191%), housewares and furniture (184%) and brick and mortar stores (174%).
Despite widespread adoption of the tablet—and consumers' tendency to treat it more like a desktop than like a phone—the far more versatile smartphone continues to be the device to watch. The study estimated that smartphone revenue share would surpass tablet share by mid-2015.
eMarketer projects that smartphone retail mcommerce sales will continue to grow, reaching $34.80 billion by 2018, 26.1% of the total retail mcommerce sales.
Still, not all smartphones were created equal for mcommerce sales. Studies also indicate that order value varies among iPhones, Android devices and Windows devices. Monetate's "Ecommerce Quarterly EQ1 2014: Browsing by Another Name" found that Windows users' purchased averaged $100.91 per order. Android users spent more—$111.70—but average order value climbed even higher when the shopper bought on an iPhone ($117.76).
Shoppers are influenced by what happens on their mobile devices, and retailers' success in mcommerce depends on how well they can cater to this new environment. This means understanding every step of the path to purchase, from social recommendations to transactions online and offline, aside from the requisite mobile site design—and using that information in digital advertising campaigns, design and more.
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