This month’s US m-commerce 2015 Forecast and Trends from eMarketer is chock full of proof that mobile is a rapidly growing contributor to online retail sales, poised to account for 22% of all digital revenue in 2015.
The research predicts that more than 60% of m-commerce will come via tablets, and smartphones will continue to produce new m-commerce moments – with time and place becoming perhaps the most relevant considerations in a customer’s buying process.
Research on mobile devices is becoming increasingly important to retail marketers as desktop discovery continues to dwindle. According to findings from comScore, 60% of time spent online in Q4 2014 occurred on a mobile device.
The report looks at eMarketer’s m-commerce forecast for the US and the trends behind future growth.
US consumers will buy $28.41 billion in products and services via their smartphones in 2015, up 37.8% from a year earlier. By 2019, more than 40% of m-commerce sales will take place on smartphones.
And anecdotal evidence from the 2014 holiday season and Q1 2015 indicates that smartphone sales are accelerating even quicker for many companies.
“Our mobile conversion rate was up 93% year over year,” said Erik Lautier, executive vice president and chief digital officer at fashion retailer bebe.
Consumers “are definitely getting more comfortable buying than they’ve ever been before we see an increase in phone usage tied to anything that relates to urgency, whether it’s a promotion that’s available for a limited time, whether it’s the launch of a new collection,” bebe’s Lautier said.
Saving the In-Store Sale with Mobile
Consumers also are more likely to buy something when they’re in a store. comScore’s polling from October 2014 found that 13% of US shoppers said they make a purchase via a mobile device while showrooming. Of those who do, some may buy a competitor’s product, but others may want to avoid a line or look up additional inventory or product details on the retailer’s own site.
Comparative estimates from the holidays indicate that in-store mobile purchases may be increasing. According to 2014 research by Custora, IBM and Adobe, mobile produced more than a quarter of online revenues on Black Friday, the day with some of the highest store traffic of the year. The figures represented big increases over previous years.
These in-store purchases represent an opportunity for retailers.
“It’s a save-the-sale purchase,” said Maya Mikhailov, CMO and founder of mobile shopping platform GPShopper. “Rather than let you leave disappointed, let’s use this as an opportunity to combine your location with contextual relevancy and offer you free shipping to your house, or some other incentive saying, ‘Hey, don’t leave, buy this now.’”
Consumers who experience a seamless mobile experience tend to more readily convert.
“I would say that what really unleashed the device from a revenue perspective is when we made the move to responsive design,” bebe’s Lautier said.
And while most brands have already made this profitable transition from mobile websites to responsive design, retailers on the high end of the maturity scale are leveraging mobile applications to not only nurture their most loyal customers, but drive revenue across all channels.
“The mobile app user is a very different customer,” Mikhailov said. “They are probably enrolled in your loyalty program. If there is a store credit card, they are probably enrolled in that as well. So it’s a subset of your customer base. But that 20% of your customer base is actually your most valuable 20%.”