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IBM fourth quarter sales report illustrates strength of mobile shopping market

January 3, 2014

The latest report from IBM solidifies the hottest trend in online payments: consumers are purchasing products using their smartphones and tablets en masse.

The latest report from IBM solidifies the hottest trend in online payments: consumers are purchasing products using their smartphones and tablets en masse.

Overall fourth quarter sales made from online payment processing terminals were up by more than 10 percent year-over-year during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the latest IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark report. However, that increase may be attributable to sales made from mobile devices: such sales increased by 46 percent year-over-year during the same timeframe, accounting for more than 16 percent of all sales made to online shoppers.

IBM also reported findings that may suggest another trend: that smartphone users browse, and tablet users buy. Smartphones drove more than 21 percent of all online traffic during the timeframe, according to the report, while tablet devices only accounted for 12.8 percent. However, tablets accounted for 11.5 percent of all sales made at online payment processing pages, while smartphones accounted for 5 percent. Taken together, those numbers illustrate the need for e-commerce retailers to offer mobile credit card payment processing capabilities to their consumers. 

That’s also because smartphone and tablet users tend to spend in large amounts. Smartphone users spent an average of $104.72 on every online order, according to the IBM report, while tablet users spent more than $118 per order. Operating systems even play a role in the success of mobile shopping: iOS users, based on Apple devices, spent an average of $115.42 per order, nearly 40 percent higher than the average amount spent by Android users. This shows how easy-to-use programs – offered by both mobile device developers and retailers – can help to increase the amount spent by individuals at e-commerce websites.

Omnichannel strategies are helping to bolster this success
Much of the success of mobile shopping is attributable to retailers focusing on omnichannel promotion strategies, which allow them to advertise to consumers across multiple channels of commerce. A recent Aberdeen Group study, reported on by Internet Retailer, fully illustrated the extent to which such a strategy  can improve a business. 

Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies currently retain an average of 89 percent of their customers, according to the report. Companies with weak omnichannel strategies, however, fail to engage repeat shopping at the same level: only 33 percent of consumers returned to shop more often with these companies, illustrating the need for products – and payment processing capabilities – to migrate across as many channels as possible.

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