If you’re wondering whether you need to develop a mobile strategy for your ecommerce website, maybe this news will convince you. According to a recent report from comScore and Millennial Media, Mobile Insights for Retail Brands, consumers are more likely to visit your ecommerce site on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.
The report says more than half (51 percent) of time shoppers spend on retail sites occurs on mobile devices, while 49 percent occurs on PCs. Yes, that’s still a small divide, but 49 percent is a significant drop from 2010 figures, when 84 percent of visits to retail sites occurred on desktops.
People who shop on mobile devices are more likely to be younger (they’re mostly aged 18 to 44), and men are slightly more likely than women to do so. More than half (52 percent) of men and 48 percent of women in the study report using their smartphones or tablets to shop. Specifically, 37 percent of visits to retail sites take place on smartphones and 14 percent occur on tablets.
You might be surprised, as I was, to see so many visits occurring on phones. However, one reason for the gap is that over half of smartphone owners use their phones to compare product prices when they’re in a store. They also use their phones to scan barcodes (58 percent), research products (57 percent), check product availability (47 percent) and look for discounts or coupons (47 percent). Since people usually don’t lug tablets to the store, they’re using phones for this informational type of site visit.
When it comes to actually buying products on mobile devices, you might be surprised to learn clothing is the top non-digital product that people buy on a smartphone (39 percent). Less surprisingly, shoppers also use their smartphones to buy tickets (24 percent), books (23 percent), restaurant meals for delivery or pickup (22 percent) and electronics (21 percent). Clothing purchases are even more popular on tablets (54 percent); figures for the other product types are similar to those of smartphones.
This news doesn’t mean you can ignore desktops, however. The report says today’s online shoppers start shopping on one platform and then shift to others depending on their location and needs. The same shopper who starts out on a smartphone might go home and head to the desktop to actually purchase the product. Someone browsing on a tablet at home might head out to the store, then realize they need to look up locations on their smartphone. To capture customers’ dollars, your business website needs to be functional for all of these options—smartphone, tablet, desktop, laptop or whatever comes next.
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