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Is The Mobile Web The New Undisputed Champion Of eCommerce?

  • Written By Javier
  • Posted July 21, 2016
  • 4 minutes Read Time

The plain fact here that cannot be ignored by businesses is that more smartphone users are purchasing more than ever with their mobile devices, and they are also opting to make those procurements through the mobile web instead of through the mobile app route.

ComScore (July 2016) and a Forrester (August 2015) US study both mirrors the data and findings in regards to mCommerce trends, and below are some important points you need to know. Before we get to the major points, it’s worth making all business owners aware of the importance that mCommerce has in trading online. It not only gives you another channel to sell through – an extremely lucrative one at that – it also helps to aid other onsite sales and conversions, and therefore, with such a critical role to play, it’s a no brainer that you want your commerce site optimised for mobile devices, which good Magento design can assist in.

How The Figures Look

In the first quarter of 2016, the percentage of smartphone users in the top five EU countries who made a purchase online were as follows:

  • UK – 33.8%
  • Italy – 28.3%
  • Germany – 19.2%
  • Spain – 14.5%
  • France – 3.5%

For each and every one of the aforementioned countries in the list above, a greater percentage of people made purchases via the mobile web as opposed to mobile apps.

The volume of smartphone consumers buying goods through the mobile web was a mere 1% higher than via app here in the UK. However, when we look to the other EU5 the figures become more stretched: 8% more in Germany, 22% more in Italy, 23% more in Spain and a significant 25% more in France, as cited by ComScore’s research.

Traffic: Mobile Web vs Apps

This is a tricky one to present to you accurately as many businesses are particularly insular when it comes to sharing information on their sales breakdowns, and this includes where their sales are coming from, whether that be mobile web or app.

However, we are able to make some informed assumptions thanks to success stories such as Shop Direct. They are an online-only fashion to electricals seller that focussed its attention on progressively increasing the presence of its mobile web business and only once this was at an acceptable level did they branch out into developing mobile apps.

This worked well for them, with a majority 59% of the retailer’s £1.8bn annual sales now via smartphones and tablets, respectively.

If we look at the UK’s online sellers as a whole and compare them with Shop Direct, it’s clear to see that the former has sluggish to jump on the bandwagon so to speak. The mCommerce opportunities are vast, but there are still 33% of top retailers who are absent from mCommerce site presence.

It’s A Global Thing 

It’s not just in the UK and Europe that mobile web purchases outweigh app acquisitions in the current market. A study last year into US consumer trends conducted by Forrester/RetailMeNot found that 43% of respondents made a purchase through their mobile browser in the previous quarter, 13% more than those who had purchased by app.

A keynote here is that consumers don’t just favour mobile web over apps for purchases, it’s the case for practically every retail-related activity.

To expand on this, we are referring to tasks that help increase in-store purchases, such as price comparison, locating a store, checking product availability, reading reviews, finding coupons, redeeming coupons, and also checking out in-store promotions.

Apps Not So Apt?

Essentially, the main issue lies here – native apps can only be used by consumers if they’ve got them downloaded on their smartphone. Research recently revealed that a weighty 77% of US smartphone users do opt to download apps, and of this 30 % admitted they’d downloaded fewer than 10 apps, with a further 32% admitting they had downloaded no more than 20 apps.

Finally, the top 25 apps in the US, according to ComScore’s report in September 2015 highlight that there are no retailers in the top 10, and simply one, Amazon, is in the top 20. Amazon, eBay and Walmart are also in the top 25.

The big issue for retailers is surely the way to overcome the significant challenge they are confronted with to find that all-important space on a customer’s smartphone for their app. The strategies and ideas put forward to help this are broad, but at the end of the day, if you have a good mCommerce service for users, you are on the right track.