Mobile commerce began to make a noticeable jump in its share of digital commerce sales starting with last year’s holiday shopping season, Andrew Lipsman, vice president, marketing and insights, for Internet traffic research firm comScore Inc. said at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2015 last week in Chicago.
Lipsman noted that in the fourth quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for 13.0% of digital sales, up from 11.1% in the prior quarter, and then continued to increase to a share of 15.4% in the first quarter of 2015.
It was notable, he said, that mobile’s share of digital commerce had hovered close to 11% for several prior quarters.
Lipsman added that mobile commerce has surged ahead of desktop in terms of time spent shopping, with mobile accounting for 59% of online shopping time in the first quarter on this year, compared with 41% for desktop. “Mobile shopping has exploded,” he said. “It has absolutely exploded and overtaken desktop.”
Although mobile still lags desktop in share of online spending, 15% to 85%, Lipsman noted that m-commerce took a noticeable leap in the fourth quarter of 2014. In Q4, he said, mobile accounted for 13.0% of digital sales, up from 11.1% in the prior quarter, and then continued to increase to a share of 15.4% in the first quarter of 2015.
Mobile maintains a strong lead in terms of growth in its share of discretionary spending, or spending by consumers on non-essential products and services like luxury goods and vacation travel, comScore says in its report, “The State of the Mobile Shopper and Buyer,” which Lipsman presented during his IRCE presentation. In the first quarter of this year, mobile’s share of retail spending growth increased 53% year over year, compared with increases of 9% for desktop retail e-commerce and 2% for total discretionary retail spending.
But mobile continues to face challenges, Lipsman said. For example, mobile’s share of consumers’ time spent on retail shopping was 59% to desktop’s 41%, but mobile’s share of spending was 15% to desktop’s 85%, he said.
One reason for that, Lipsman said, is that consumers still find desktops far easier to use than smartphones or tablets for online shopping. He noted that, when comparing compared mobile devices with desktops, 50% of consumers find smartphones more difficult to use than desktops, while 47% find tablets more difficult to use. By comparison, 14% of consumers said smartphones were easier than desktops for online shopping; 17% said tablets were easier to use.
36% of consumers said smartphones and desktops were about the same; 38% said tablets and desktops were about the same.
The largest barrier cited by consumers to shopping on smartphones versus desktops was concern over the security of making payments—which was cited by 20.2% of smartphone users and 17.1% of tablet users. The second most commonly cited barrier was the inability to see product details—cited by 19.6% of smartphone users and 15.0% of tablet users.
Lipsman, however, noted that these two barriers should start to become less of a concern for consumers. Just as online shoppers have become more confident about shopping online on desktops, they should also become more confident about making payments on mobile devices, he said. “People will get over that as they did in desktops,” Lipsman said.
And with mobile phone screens increasing in size, product details will also become more easily visible. “The good news is iPhones are getting bigger,” he said. He added, however, that challenges will remain even with larger mobile screens, which will still be at noticeable disadvantage compared with desktops and laptops for the foreseeable future.