Flashback to Jan. 1, 2017, when online retailers said mobile-related initiatives were their top priority for the year, according to a Forrester Research Inc. study. And what a busy year retailers had when it came to mobile-related endeavors. Here are the top mobile headlines from the past year, including mobile usage trends and how online retailers prioritized mobile-focused projects.
Internet usage is only going to become more mobile. Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, accounted for 70% of global time spent using the internet in 2017, up from 65% in 2016, according to a study released by marketing agency Zenith. In the U.S., mobile as a percent of daily internet consumption is even higher, as it reached 77.1% in 2017.
While internet usage has shifted to smartphones at the expense of desktop, the app honeymoon is over. App installs in the U.S. decreased 38% in the December 2014-January 2017 period, and the number of times a consumer launches an app decreased 28% in that same span, according to an Adobe Analytics report.
With more consumers accessing retailer’s sites on mobile devices and more merchants realizing that shoppers don’t want a zillion (less than 10, actually) shopping apps on their smartphone, e-commerce merchants have turned to newer forms of mobile site design. Google’s accelerated mobile pages and Progressive Web Apps were two new design techniques that retailers dabbled with in 2017.
Regardless of the latest technology, good mobile design practices will always serve retailers well. LeftLane Sports is one example of how an online retailers can generate big sales gains by making small but meaningful tweaks to their mobile site design.
Mobile matters not only for e-commerce but for in-store shoppers as well. Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s senior vice president, digital, explains why mobile is core to Sephora’s strategy.
Retailers are finding that a slow-loading mobile site isn’t just annoying for online shoppers, it also may keep them from ever finding a retailer’s mobile site. In 2017, Google and Facebook Inc. made site speed a ranking signal in their algorithms, which means mobile load times factor into everything from a retailer’s organic Google search ranking to the likelihood that a brand’s post will appear in a consumer’s Facebook news feed.
In 2017 augmented reality got in the hands of more smartphone shoppers than ever thanks to Apple Inc.’s release of the iOS 11 software in November. Many retailers have jumped into using this new mobile technology including Lowe’s Cos. Inc.