When retailers discuss mobile commerce, they use a term that encompasses both smartphones and tablet devices. To be sure, tablets have a role in online selling that brands can’t ignore. But according to a new report from Forrester, smartphones are far and away the primary device through which m-commerce takes place.
In terms of their market share of overall online sales, smartphones only have a slight lead over tablets — smartphones comprise 17 percent of overall online sales, while tablets come in at 14 percent. But over the past year, smartphone retail has made much greater strides: year-over-year growth was at 53 percent for mobile phones, compared to just 32 percent for tablet devices.
Overall, the percentage of online traffic coming from smartphones was almost double the traffic from tablet devices, by a margin of 29 to 15 percent, per the report.
Perhaps most indicative of future trends is how retailers are spending for each channel. Entering 2016, smartphone retail experiences were garnering greater investments from brands surveyed than the investments into tablet experiences.
More Money On The Horizon
Retail investment into mobile retail is already underway, but this trend shows no sign of slowing down — retailers are coming to understand the importance of an engaging user experience through mobile, even when using smartphones in physical stores.
“Retailers are now recognizing that their customers may not need a bigger, more expansive shopping experience on mobile platforms — they need a consistent, relevant and user-friendly experience that will shape their online and in-store shopping behaviors,” says Vicki Cantrell, an executive for both Shop.org and NRF, which helped produce the Forrester report.
“Even with relatively small investments in their mobile initiatives, retailers are seeing tremendous growth in both sales that come from smartphones and the level of customer engagement from mobile across the brand.”
Cantrell also notes that other mobile features, such as “click and buy” and in-store inventory searches, will also become more prevalent among retail brands, especially with consumers expecting to have those services available.
As for the level of investment retailers are bracing for in 2016 and beyond, it’s a matter of each company deciding the value of mobile infrastructure. But overall, the industry is shifting rapidly toward a robust mobile presence — online and in stores.
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