E-commerce users now prefer smartphones to desktops

August 10, 2013

Online merchant service providers, take note: customers are shopping online now more than ever, and the way they're doing so continues to evolve.

Online merchant service providers, take note: customers are shopping online now more than ever, and the way they’re doing so continues to evolve.

The shift from the desktop to mobile devices for the sake of online shopping is complete for the majority of Americans, according to a study from Millennial Media and comScore, cited by MediaPost. According to the findings, 51 percent of time spent by consumers on retail sites took place through smartphones and tablets during February, overtaking the share of time spent on desktop computers. Of that 51 percent, 37 percent was derived from smartphone use, and 14 percent from tablet use. 

Men seem to prefer the use of mobile devices, but the shift has been noted in all demographics. An estimated 52 percent of Americans shopping via their smartphones are men, according to the news source, with the majority of that number falling within the 18 to 44 years old age demographic. The study notes that women are more likely than men to use their phone for social actions, or to compare prices.

“Store locators may be a more effective tactic to use with men, while ads linking to a social network may be more effective with women, and can be targeted accordingly,” the study reported. 

The amount of money that businesses are spending to corner this market is also rising, according to the report. It stated that retail spending during the first quarter 2013 was up roughly 10 percent when compared with figures from one year prior.

“From this already large, established base of spending, retail brands have begun to shift their mobile advertising strategies. Retail advertisers are allocating their mobile spend differently, towards more innovative targeting features,” the study added.

Retailers are also finding that their are many different uses for their mobile shopping applications, and for the ads that drive them. The report noted that 37 percent of retailers hope that their mobile campaigns will primarily result in more foot traffic for their business, while 34 percent identified increased website traffic as the main goal of the advertisements. For 14 percent of retailers, the hope was that the mobile ads would lead to an increase in brand awareness. 

E-commerce continues to grow, regardless of the device used to access it
Another recent report from comScore supports the need for businesses to offer online credit card processing and e-commerce capabilities. The firm reports that during the second quarter of 2013, online retail sales were recorded that depicted growth of over 15 percent when compared with figures from the same timeframe for 2012. Roughly $49 billion in sales were recorded for American e-commerce providers – marking the eleventh straight financial quarter of double-digit growth, and the fifteenth straight quarter of year-over-year growth. With the help of virtual credit card terminals, businesses have watched their online sales skyrocket.

“The second quarter of 2013 saw a healthy acceleration in the online spending growth rate to nearly 16 percent on the strength of a particularly enthusiastic April from consumers,” Gian Fulgoni, the chairman of comScore, was quoted as saying within the study.

Fulgoni went on to note that the second quarter has traditionally been a weak bracket for online sales, so the recorded increases in revenue suggest continued success for online retailers throughout the rest of the year/

“Increased spending growth for the quarter not only reflects the long term share shift towards digital commerce, but also the near-term signals of sustained improvement in consumer sentiment. This strength is particularly significant since the second quarter tends to be seasonally lighter for e-commerce, and, as such, represents a positive indicator for the back half of the year,” he said.

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