Holiday Shopping Data Shows the Mobile Shift Is Accelerating

Early data points to change

Author: Andria Cheng

November 27, 2017

Consumers are more comfortable than ever buying on their mobile gadgets this holiday season. 

Early indications in the first days of the season show that mobile devices are not only being used for product search and review, they are increasingly replacing desktops as the device where consumers click for purchase.

On Monday morning Adobe said early data for Cyber Monday activity showed mobile driving nearly 40% of online sales.

Not surprisingly, the smartphone is the key, driving most of the mobile traffic and sales. Smartphone traffic jumped 21% while sales coming from smartphone purchases surged a record 41% from a year earlier, according to Adobe. In yet another sign pointing to increased smartphone buying, Adobe’s data also showed smartphone’s average conversion rate, while still only about half of that of desktop, rose at more than double the rate of desktop as of Monday morning.

A similar trend was also observed on Black Friday. Adobe, which said it tracks 80% of online transactions at the top 100 U.S. online retailers, said smartphone-led mobile devices led 54% of web visits and 37% of online sales that day. 

In early November, Adobe projected dramatic growth in the use of mobile devices for holiday shopping.

Other studies also point to the growing shift to mobile buying.

On average, 30% of transactions from the top 10 ecommerce sites were processed on mobile browsers in the week ended Saturday, up from 28% the week prior, John Fetto, a Hitwise senior analyst, told eMarketer Retail, adding he expects mobile device’s share of online transactions to hit a record this holiday season.

Similarly, personalization tool company Qubit, which said it studied millions of shopper visits across 34 major online retailers over the holiday weekend, said that 56% of total online Black Friday traffic came from mobile devices, up from 43.4% last year.

But as much as the mobile traffic gain was impressive, the study also found that retailers’ mobile “revenue per visitor,” or total revenue divided by the number of visitors to a website, is not only 56% lower than that of desktop, mobile’s RPV declined 23% from a year earlier.

The “very big spike in mobile traffic… indicates the speed at which the consumer is moving to an all mobile lifestyle,” Graham Cooke, Qubit’s CEO, told eMarketer Retail. “The consumer has changed, and retailers need to look at mobile as where the growth in revenue is…. Product discovery, and creating experiences which provide a seamless segue from an app like Instagram to the mobile website of the brand is now essential.”