While some analysts predict the shift to mobile commerce will be gradual, others are more optimistic. Midyear data from the MarketLive Inc. Q2 2015 Performance Index, which tracks the buying behavior of millions of consumers shopping online, suggests a turning point in mobile commerce could be closer than many analysts have projected.
According to MarketLive, small-screen shopping experiences are finally engaging enough to attract mass-market consumers, who purchased 335 percent more via their smartphones than they did a year ago. And the data showed triple-digit gains in mobile-generated revenue and traffic across all retail sectors.
"Consumers have shifted their buying patterns to mobile commerce faster than many retailers realize," said Ken Burke, founder and Chief Executive Officer of MarketLive. "We're now seeing merchandise traditionally purchased in-store, such as home furnishings, are increasingly being purchased online from smartphones."
The retail sectors showing the strongest improvement in mobile-generated sales year-over-year were catalog (374 percent), brick-and-mortar (207 percent), and furnishings and housewares (163 percent), indicating that traditional retailers are beginning to leverage digital channels more effectively. Apparel, footwear and accessories; beauty and health; and brand manufacturers also saw significant gains in mobile-generated sales.
The report also noted that as more shoppers gravitate to brick-and-mortar merchants' online portals, consumer expectations channel-wide are the same regardless of device employed. Omnichannel merchants are finding that to retain customers, a consistent shopping experience must be delivered across all channels.
MarketLive attributes much of the recent rise in mobile commerce to enhanced capabilities in two key areas: responsive websites and one-click payment options. Both capabilities address serious friction points by making it easier for shoppers to see products, search prices, and make purchases whenever and wherever convenient.
"We're calling this trend 'Commerce Anywhere the Customer wants it,' and the more agile retailers and category leaders are outpacing their competitors by constantly adapting to – and embracing – a retail landscape where technology, consumers and markets are evolving at breakneck speed," Burke noted.
Agility online could also reverse online shopping cart abandonment trends, where the percentages have been consistently high. More than two-thirds of the retail sectors tracked experienced higher levels of online cart abandonment, which overall was up 2 percent and averaged 76 percent for the quarter. Smartphone cart abandonment, on the other hand, declined nearly 5 percent, but still averaged 81.4 percent across all sectors.
Another influence expected to have a more potent impact on retail revenue is social media. According to MarketLive data, revenue directly attributable to social media recommendations represented less than 1 percent of total revenue generated during the second quarter of 2015, yet it influenced an average order value of $153.20.
Among the top social revenue generating media, based on percentage of market share, were Facebook (67 percent of total social revenue generated), Pinterest (12 percent) and Twitter (1 percent). Year-over-year social revenue generated using smartphones increased by 136 percent, and social traffic via smartphones was up 186 percent.
MarketLive additionally noted in its analysis that increases in social revenue come at a time when traffic from traditional online paid and organic searches is plummeting. The firm's latest data showed that paid search traffic for the quarter dropped 11.7 percent, and organic searches declined by 1.5 percent overall.
MarketLive's latest data revealed the emergence of two other developments in mobile commerce. In the second quarter of 2015, smartphones, for the first time, surpassed tablet devices for online revenue share, with 13.1 percent of market share compared with 13 percent for tablets. Smartphones also comprised 29.4 percent of online traffic to beat out tablets by a wide margin. Tablet devices garnered just 12.9 percent of online traffic for the quarter.
On the economic front, online retail revenue was up 1.3 percent in the second quarter, with total visits to the websites tracked up 18.1 percent. At the same time, average order size rose 1.4 percent, according to MarketLive. Brick-and-mortar revenues continued to outperform all other segments in the retail index. "Brick and Mortar revenues out-paced the overall retail index by 43 percent over 8 consecutive quarters," MarketLive stated.
To request a free copy of the performance index, visit the MarketLive website at www.marketlive.com.
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