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Increasing smartphone usage for eCommerce

The mobile revolution is nothing new – we’ve known for the last two years that mobile internet usage was increasing, with Google’s announcement that it would implement a default mobile index in 2018 as the ultimate confirmation of this sea change. What is new however is the role smartphones now play in eCommerce with shoppers using their devices at all stages of the buyer journey, from research and comparison right through to check out.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday confirmed the unassailable truth with Adobe reporting a record 39.9% of web traffic to retail sites originating on smartphones on Cyber Monday, with a bumper £1.13 billion of sales being transacted on mobile devices – a huge 12% higher than previous years.

Popular devices

As you’d expect from the market leader, Apple devices lead the way when it comes to smartphone use for eCommerce. The Cyber Monday figures show that Apple users also spent more on their smartphones than their Android counterparts, suggesting that eCommerce retailers might be best served optimising sites and marketing campaigns for those with iPhones.

Number of people accessing eCommerce sites from their smartphone

eMarketer calculates that more than half of all UK digital buyers transact via a smartphone, making eCommerce a significant portion of all online sales. In fact, the report suggests that mCommerce accounts for as much as £35.31 billion in revenue. This number is also expected to rise as consumers become more comfortable transacting from their smartphone and mobile payment options become more sophisticated. By 2021, mCommerce is predicted to be the majority source for retail sales with forecasts suggesting that it will be responsible for 56% of total retail mCommerce sales.

Conversions from smartphone visits

Despite the increase in smartphone use and the rapid growth of mCommerce, conversion rates from smartphones can still be difficult to pinpoint and in some industries are not as high as you might expect. There is a similar explanation for this however – consumers are omni-channel creatures by nature and there is a long established pattern of multiple screen use.

Mobile conversion rates are currently lower than those recorded from desktop devices, with Marketing Land figures suggesting that smartphones are responsible for just 20% of conversions. When you consider that mobiles rein supreme when it comes to actual screen time, this figure seems surprisingly low. What’s important to remember however is the roles smartphones play in the discovery and research process, fuelling the ultimate desktop or tablet conversion.

Smartphones are particularly useful in micro-moments with data suggesting that optimising key facets of the mobile experience can lead to conversion lifts. Focusing on improving page load speed for example is critical to keeping smartphone users engaged while responsive design elements such as large buttons eliminate much of the friction that prevents mobile conversions.

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