This Year’s Back-to-School Story? It Was Mobile

Mobile sales logged major gains, desktop lagged, study finds

October 17, 2017

An analysis of back-to-school ecommerce sales signaled diverging growth trends for mobile and desktop shopping, with mobile logging significant gains in orders and values, while desktop sales were close to flat.

The study, by retail search marketing firm NetElixir, covered some 80 million ecommerce sessions from July 27 to September 5. It found that while the number of mobile orders increased by 44%, desktop orders edged down by 2%. And mobile revenues rose 64%, while desktop revenues grew just 3%.

The average order value (AOV) on desktops was still higher than on mobile, although the gap is narrowing. NetElixir said the AOV for desktops rose $5 to $132 in 2017, while for mobile it increased $13 to $109.

NetElixir also reported that the mobile purchasing activity did not simply reflect last-minute purchases, unlike in previous years. In fact, the percentage of mobile sales was steady throughout this year’s season.

According to data from Adobe, mobile shopping activity now outpaces desktop shopping, with more than half of all retail ecommerce traffic coming from smartphones and tablets in Q2 2017.

However, desktop purchases still account for a strong majority of overall retail ecommerce revenues: more than two-thirds in this year’s second quarter.