Mobile Purchasing Reaches a Tipping Point

More fashion and lifestyle orders take place on mobile than desktop 

November 17, 2017

Despite the ubiquity of mobile phones, screen size and other factors have held back purchasing on the devices. However, data from ecommerce platform Unbxd indicates that for at least one product category, mobile tops desktop.

Unbxd analyzed US purchasing activity on its platform through the first three quarters of 2017 and found that 49.2% of fashion and lifestyle orders occurred on mobile. (Unbxd treats tablet orders as separate from mobile.) 

The categories where mobile order share was high don't seem to follow any clear logic or pattern, with music equipment reaching a 40% order share and groceries a 36.4% share. At the lower end were such categories as books, office supplies and healthcare.

Overall, Unbxd found mobile orders made up 36% of all orders. Tablet orders made up 12%. And desktop orders made up a majority of orders, at 52%.

On a dollar basis, eMarketer estimates that desktop purchasing still makes up a significant majority of sales. For 2017, mobile commerce will account for 34.5% of total retail ecommerce sales in the US. And that includes tablet commerce sales, so the share of mobile phone purchasing is even smaller. 

Smartphone mcommerce sales will make up 65.9% of all mobile sales in the US this year. That share will rise rapidly in the next four years, reaching 82.4% in 2021, eMarketer estimates.