State of Mobile Ecommerce

Posted on Tuesday, 19. February 2019 in category Digital marketing. 3 min read • Written by

Pawel Ogonowski

The rise of mobile commerce is undeniable. M-commerce now accounts for over 60% of global ecommerce sales, and that number is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.

Caption: In 2021, mobile ecommerce (or “m-commerce”) is expected to account for 72.9% of total ecommerce sales. (source)

Despite these rosy figures, however, mobile conversion rates for online stores lag well behind those of desktop, as is clearly visible from the graph below. The conversion rate for mobile is nearly three times lower than desktop.

Caption: Mobile has the lowest ecommerce conversion rates of any major shopping device and lags far behind desktop.

Why are mobile conversion rates so low?

So why aren’t shoppers completing purchases? There are a number of reasons that lead to low mobile conversion rates. Let’s run down the most important:

  • High cart abandonment rates – A number of factors, including lengthy checkout forms, convoluted payment process, registration requirements, and a lack of clear information, mean that mobile ecommerce has an unusually high cart abandonment rate. This is shown clearly in the graph below: 

Caption: Mobile phones have the highest cart abandonment rates. (Source)

  • Poor product discovery on mobileAccording to research, mobile users find it difficult to browse and “discover” products on mobile, which causes them to leave online stores without making a purchase.
  • Use of mobile as a research tool and failure to add products to basket – Research also indicates that, percentage-wise, the same portions of traffic are engaging with product pages on mobile and desktop. On mobile, however, visitors are not adding products to their basket. There are two reasons for this: use of mobile phones as a research tool (for making a later purchase on desktop) and poor browsing and discovery features, which prevent customers from finding what they want.

Caption: Visitors are engaging with content, but they are not “selecting” (adding products to the cart). (Source)

  • Slow site speed – As is shown in the graph below, the single biggest reason that shoppers cite for not making a purchase is slow site speed. There is no greater killer of attention and engagement.

Caption: Slow and clunky site experiences are killing mobile conversions. (Source)

  • The size of mobile screens is a big hurdle – It’s very difficult to suggest additional products and enable product discovery on a small-screen device. Furthermore, additional information is often obscured. For example, the inclusion of visible notices on product pages about free shipping, discounts, limited stock etc. is of immense importance in ecommerce optimization. Given the size of mobile screens, however, these details can be difficult to display.

There is a positive point to be made here, however. Mobile behavior is increasingly shaping ecommerce conversion rate optimization and retailers are often responding with innovative solutions.

A deeper understanding of mobile behavior has led to a divergence of approach in regards to user experience design and conversion rate optimization for mobile and desktop. Online retailers, for example, have placed much more emphasis on simplifying the customer experience (knowing that time and screen-space is at a premium) and building lightning fast sites to overcome patchy internet connections.

How does behavior on mobile and desktop differ?

So how exactly does customer behavior differ depending on the platform being used? Let’s take a look at some key insights:

  • Many mobile purchases are made on the go – Many mobile purchases are made on-the-go and while multitasking. This helps explain, in part, why mobile conversions are lower. Attention, along with commercial intent, tends not to be as strong or focused when a visitor is browsing products while also taking care of other tasks. Because of this, the importance of retargeting can’t be overstated here. Retailers understand this, and will often prompt a customer to complete a purchase on a desktop computer.
  • Shoppers prefer to use apps on mobile instead of websites71% of mobile sales in the US are made through smartphone apps. This is a phenomenon that is not mirrored on desktop, where the vast majority of sales are made through websites.

Caption: 71% of mobile sales in the US were made through apps in Q3 2017.

  • Shoppers use multiple devices when making a purchase – One out of every three transactions involves two or more devices. The interesting point, however, is that the majority of touch-points in any multi-device transaction will be mobile. This is particularly noteworthy because it indicates that the disparity between mobile and desktop might not be as clear cut as it appears, with mobile activity contributing significantly to desktop conversions. Research shows that ecommerce stores with a higher rate of mobile traffic often report higher desktop conversions.

Summing it up

In 2021 the share of mobile purchases in all ecommerce sales is expected to jump to nearly 75%.

Yet mobile customer experience is still far from perfect.

This creates a huge opportunity for visionary entrepreneurs which you shouldn’t miss.

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