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Should retailers believe the mobile hype?

Monday August 27 2012

A recent report on mobile shopping behaviour found significant differences in the way Britons shop across platforms, according to e-commerce expert Darren Hitchcock

A recent report on mobile shopping behaviour found significant differences in the way Britons shop across platforms, according to e-commerce expert Darren Hitchcock


A 2012 study, conducted by e-commerce recommendations technology provider RichRelevance from analysis of more than 1.1 billion shopping sessions across mobile device and desktop computers in both the UK and US, revealed four key trends that offer important insight for British retailers.


Darren Hitchcock, vice president of RichRelevance in the UK and Europe highlighted that, first and foremost, mobile shopping continues to outpace desktop purchasing.


Mobile attracts bigger spenders


RichRelevance 2012 mobile infographicIn March 2012, the average purchase on mobile was greater than that on desktop computers, and mobile shopping represented a 9.1% revenue share of all e-commerce sales. This figure was up nearly one percentage point since the Christmas shopping period in 2011. “Like never before, mobile devices are enabling real-time purchasing, product research, and price comparison and review, as customers are on the move,” he said.


Out of all mobile devices, the research found that majority of revenues originated from iPads, which account for 82% of all mobile expenditure. The most expensive purchases, however, were made on the iPhone, at an average of £84.77 per item, in comparison to £69.63 on the iPad and £38.46 on the desktop.


Secondly, although they had the lowest average order value, consumers who shopped on desktop computers were most likely to convert. Conversion rates on desktop were 3.6% in March compared to 2.9% on iPad, 1.2% on iPhone and 1% on other mobile devices. The research concluded that retailers must look to maximise customer satisfaction levels by providing a flawless customer experience; failing to do so can cause a retailer to appear behind in the times, negatively impacting brand reputation.


Thirdly, iPad users log longer shopping sessions and spend the most time browsing retail sites in evenings and weekends; the iPad’s share of shopping sessions reached 10% at weekends, as opposed to 8.2% during the week. The share of iPad sessions also climbs in the evening hours from around 5pm until 9pm with peaks at 4pm, 8pm and 10pm. RichRelevance said retailers have an opportunity here to personalise their merchandising strategy to suit the needs and behaviours of each customer as they change throughout the day.


Brits lead the way with mobile


Lastly, the study results highlighted significant differences between the shopping behaviour in the UK and the US. Brits were nearly twice as likely to spend on mobile devices as Americans, where mobile accounted for only 4.6% of revenue. In addition, Brits are spending more when using their iPhones compared to their American counterparts who prefer the iPad.


“Today’s consumers visit retail websites from a range of platforms, 24 hours a day. Whether shopping from their desk at work, browsing on their mobile phone while in the queue at lunch or making a purchase at home in the evening from their iPad, consumers expect a consistent experience that is optimised for any device they choose,” said Hitchcock.