In 2010, 96 percent of online retail browsing was done on desktops while only four percent took place on mobile devices.
But mobile devices now represent 51 percent of visits to retailer websites, according to Branding Brand’s Mobile Commerce Index.
Of course, visits are one thing, revenue quite another. But it also seems mobile browsing leads to mobile purchasing - particularly from smartphones.
Retailer revenue from mobile visits was up 111 percent from May 2013 to May 2014, for example, according to Branding Brand and between August 2013 and August 2014, revenue from mobile orders grew 89 percent.
Keeping in mind there is a difference between market share (new orders) and installed base, revenue earned from tablet purchases continues to hold a slight lead over smartphone orders.
In August 2014, retailer website tablet revenue represented about 16 percent of total retailer site e-commerce sales. Smartphones represented about 12 percent. With the faster rate of smartphone revenue growth, it is only a matter of time before smartphone sales surpass tablet revenue.
And there is another somewhat surprising change. Though it has been rather widely supposed that larger screens are preferred for online shopping interactions, logically favoring tablets instead of smartphones, end user behavior seems to belie those assumptions.
Between August 2013 and August 2014, for example, revenue from tablet-placed online commerce grew just 18 percent, compared to the 89 percent growth of smartphone revenue over the same period.
How to interpret that data, is the issue. Screen size might not be as big an issue as originally thought. Retailer mobile sites arguably are getting better and more people are using smartphones – which could explain some of the increase in smartphone sales volume.
Other data suggests the enormity of the change that has taken place in visits to retail websites.
A year ago, tablet browsing surpassed smartphones and was expected to continue to outpace the amount of total browsing happening on smartphones. That now seems to have reversed, as a study by Adobe (News - Alert) shows more browsing on smartphones than tablets. The study authors argue the advent of larger-screen smartphones has slowed tablet browsing preferences.
Whatever the combination of reasons, smartphone-based commerce is eclipsing tablet-based commerce.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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