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Christmas Mobile Shopping Trends & Growth Over Time

Mobile eCommerce plays an important role when it comes to fast and convenient shopping as consumers are transitioning from using their desktop computers to using mobile devices for online shopping. With so much smartphone and tablet activity, omni-channel retailers are in a prime position to gain from emerging trends in consumer behaviour, especially during the extremely active shopping period leading up to Christmas.

Data from the Worldwide Smartphone and Media Tablet Shipments 2010-2015, shows the growth of smartphones and tablets over recent years continues to be on the up with little sign of slowing down.

Growing Mobile Usage

According to recent statistics, mobile devices account for 66% of all time spent on eCommerce sites as mobile adoption finds itself at an all-time high. Also, 42% of smartphone and tablet users intend to do more mcommerce transactions over the festive season. It is essential for businesses to capitalise on the mobile trend.

In this world of constant connectivity, consumers expect to find the information that they want, when they want it. According to a report from Google, 61% of people said that they’d quickly move onto another site if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site. This is not surprising, but the rate of change in response is significant. This explains why optimising the user experience for smartphones and tablets – not just smaller screens, but multiple devices with different screens – is more of a priority than ever before. Responsive design adoption is poised to grow rapidly.

Apart from responsive design, eCommerce businesses have also started optimising for innovative technology like Apple Pay. Though Apple Pay is a new and untapped solution, there is speculation that it could become available to eCommerce merchants in the coming months. Apple has already entered partnerships with online service providers such as Uber and Airbnb, suggesting that the company’s long-term plan for the service involves more than just brick-and-mortar merchants.

If Apple Pay were to enter the ecommerce space at scale, it would be a true game changer. The adoption of NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities like Apple Pay or Google Wallet in both iOS and Android devices will no doubt continue to spur mcommerce growth with novel and captivating use cases.

As marketers are getting more and more sophisticated with their mobile marketing campaigns, businesses are able to target customers based on mobile data with greater precision and increased relevance which is an increasing trend in the mcommerce world. CRM and marketing automation solutions have also increased in sophistication in recent years, giving companies additional ways to profile and reach customers through targeted initiatives like mobile advertising campaigns.

Another essential part of the growth of mcommerce is mobile internet usage. Without access to Wi-Fi, consumers have to rely on a quality mobile internet service which is out of their control. Mobile devices have quickly become consumers’ go-to for a whole range of digital services that people rely on every day. This might include booking a ride with Uber or making a one-click purchase on Amazon.

The graph below shows that smartphone usage is up 394% from 2010 to 2014, and tablet usage is up a massive 1,721% as these platforms now combine to account for 60% of digital media time spent.  It can be seen that over recent years digital media time spent by platform has increased substantially and the growth of good quality mobile usage is inseparable from building reliable mcommerce brands.

digital media time spent by platform

Source: ComScore

Mobile-only internet usage is also becoming more common, driven predominantly by Millennials, of which 21% are no longer using desktop computers to go online. Not only that, USA data from this year shows that mobile digital media time is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop (42%).

Time Spent By Device Per Day 2008 - 2015

Source: SmartInsights

Building Trust on Mobile

Mobile ecommerce has increased over the last few years due to changes in consumer habits and perception about shopping online. When it comes to on-the-go shopping online, privacy and security play a significant role. While desktop security is becoming increasingly sophisticated, mobile security was initially slow to catch up. This was worrying because mobile devices and applications were the fastest growing targets for new cyber-attacks around the globe. 2014 was the year that consumer concern about mobile privacy and data security was finally widely diminished. For example, the benefit of NFC mentioned above is that it is limited to communication within four inches. Many experts see this small radius as a major security benefit, which explains its popularity as a secure alternative to credit cards. Both Apple Pay and Google Wallet use NFC chip technology, and the technology is likely to become more commonplace in the industry.

The mobile pay ecosystem is expected to grow in popularity in the next year, as consumers grow to trust
the technology. Building on the success of major tech giants like Google and Apple, banks are also expected to launch their own mobile wallets.

Mcommerce and Christmas Shopping

According to an IMRG report from February 2015, visits to ecommerce sites via smartphone and tablet devices accounted for 45% of all ecommerce traffic in the UK. This year the importance of mobile for retailers has also become integral to business, as Google now explicitly ranks mobile friendly sites above their non-optimised competition. So what are the key elements that we’ve seen this year that are building on other trends from previous years? We already covered the importance of emerging technology, optimised mobile ecommerce websites, and positive consumer outlook toward secure mobile shopping. We have seen first hand how festive shopping over the last few months shifted. One key example would be this past Black Friday with its record numbers in online sales and decrease in financial gains for traditional brick and mortar stores.  According to Adobe Digital Index (based on data from Adobe’s retail clients), total online sales in the United States on Thanksgiving and Black Friday hit a record $4.45bn. Mobile and tablet devices accounted for well over half (54%) of traffic to its retail clients’ sites on Black Friday, up more than 16% year-on-year. Perhaps more importantly, IBM saw these devices accounting for over a third of purchases (35%), an increase of 35%. Adobe also saw mobile driving a similar percentage of Black Friday sales (37%). For the first time ever AOV (average order value) from tablet sales, estimated to be $136.42, beat out AOV from desktops ($134.06)

In the UK, consumers also like to take advantage of Black Friday deals, however this year we have seen surprising results. Traditionally consumers tend to storm to the stores to purchase Black Friday items, but this year we saw that people relied more on their mobiles to catch the deal rather than going to the store. However, the web proved equally unreliable at times with many retailers experiencing website difficulties due to high traffic. With the heavy traffic, John Lewis’ site went down around 3.20pm on 27 November and it’s predicted that the company might have lost some £2.8m due to this.

One of the big retailers, Amazon, claims that 2015 Black Friday was its biggest sales day in the UK ever, with more than six million items being ordered. This beats the record of 2014 when the company sold more than 5.5 million products at a rate of 64 items per second. PC World claimed its biggest-ever start with eight sales per second and 100 large screen TVs selling per minute online. It claimed to have 400,000 visitors per hour to its site, an increase of 70% over 2014.

The changing consumer behaviour where people are leaning towards convenient and stress-free shopping on the go and the Black Friday 2015 results are extremely meaningful for the mcommerce industry. It shows that businesses more than ever should pay attention to their online presence and optimise mobile shopping options to the fullest in order to avoid mistakes like John Lewis and enrich the sales funnel.

The figure below shows mobile unique audience from large retailers over the last few years. It can be seen that events like Black Friday and overall Christmas shopping peaks during the festive season. This again highlights the point that through innovative technology, optimised mobile commerce solutions, and easy user experience, mcommerce is playing a key part in sales results and should not be ignored.

Mobile Audience Growth By Retailer March 2012 - March 2014

Source: Econsultancy

In conclusion, the price for consumers these days is time as the on-the-go lifestyle and consumer purchasing behaviour have changed over the last few years, proving that mCommerce is key. Innovative technology like Apple Pay and growing consumer trust in mobile shopping solutions highlight the fact that retailers have to adapt and mould their business model to consumer needs and wants. The changes in consumer behaviour where shoppers lean towards mobile shopping are clearly seen through events like Black Friday and the festive season shopping before Christmas.

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