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Do People Actually Shop on Phones? The Answer Is Decidedly Yes

Mobile shopping is up

Mobile shopping is up

In e-commerce, the mobile revolution is here.

In 2012, people spent $25 billion on purchases made from phones and tablets, an increase of 81 percent from the year before, according to eMarketer, which compiles data from 120 sources that track commerce.

That is still a minority of total e-commerce sales. Mobile accounted for just 11 percent of e-commerce and is expected to reach 15 percent this year. But eMarketer predicts that by 2016, mobile will be $87 billion, or a quarter of all e-commerce.

The shift is significant for a type of shopping riddled with challenges — like small screens that make it hard to view items and type. It reflects the consumers’ shift to doing everything from work to play on mobile devices.

“Particularly in the second half of the year and in the holiday season, there were signs that smartphones and tablets in particular had made much more progress than people had previously thought we would,” said Clark Fredricksen, vice president of communications at eMarketer.

And mobile shoppers spend a surprising amount when using these devices — an average of $329 per order when on tablets and $250 when on phones, eMarketer said.

Tablets in particular have significantly changed the way people shop. While in 2011, people spent more money making purchases from smartphones than from tablets, shopping on tablets surpassed phones last year: $13.9 billion was spent from tablets and $9.9 billion from phones.

People are more likely to use tablets while they are in a shopping mood, like lounging on the couch. And their bigger screens make shopping easier than it is on smartphones and in some cases easier than on computers, because shoppers can zoom in or drag items to their carts with their fingers.

For example, at Tea Collection, a children’s clothing retailer, just over a third of transactions now come from mobile devices. People are just as likely to buy from tablets as from computers, and some days more likely, but the conversion rate is lower on smartphones.

Leigh Rawdon, chief executive and co-founder of Tea Collection, said she was surprised at how quickly people have taken to shopping on mobile devices, and that she expects behavior to change yet again with the proliferation of smaller tablets like the iPad Mini that blur the line between phone and tablet.

Still, some retailers report that mobile commerce has not been as big as they expected.

“Many mobile storefronts have problems that make buying difficult,” Mr. Fredricksen said. “Even though sessions often start on smartphones, in the end consumers end up turning to computers or retail stores or even a tablet to seal the deal.”

Big e-commerce players that have poured resources into mobile shopping, like Amazon.com and eBay, are seeing significantly more mobile commerce than smaller shopping sites, Mr. Fredricksen said.

During the holidays, overall e-commerce sales on computers and mobile devices combined grew 14 percent to $42.3 billion, according to comScore. That was lower than expected. After a strong start around Thanksgiving, consumer spending shrank because of concerns about the fiscal crisis in Washington, comScore said.

By Claire Cain Miller, January 9, 2013.  Bits Blog, NY Times

For the full article, please visit: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/do-people-actually-shop-on-phones-the-answer-is-decidedly-yes/

 

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