Mobile Shoppers Expect Desktop Performance

The mobile channel’s contribution to retail sales rose from 3.4% to 6.5% between October 2010 and April 2011, according to studies by Coremetrics. Even though mobile purchases are a fraction of overall sales, consumers increasingly use their mobile devices to research purchases before buying elsewhere, suggesting that the importance of retail mobile websites is only growing.

According to a recent Limelight Networks survey of consumers who self-identified as owning a smartphone or tablet owners, and using that mobile device to research and/or purchase products online, 80% said they typically abandon a mobile site if the shopping experience isn’t up to par.

Three quarters of those who abandon the site said they are likely to return later on a computer, says the report. However, about one quarter said they prefer to seek out a different site to continue shopping. In addition, roughly 20% of total respondents said they aren’t likely to abandon a mobile site in the middle of shopping, but that they are likely to avoid a poor-performing mobile site in the future.

Mobile Site Abandonment


% of Respondents

Abandon experience on internet-connected mobile device and return to the site at a later date using computer


Complete research and/or purchase using internet-connected mobile device and never return to the site in the future


Abandon experience and immediately seek alternative brands using mobile device


Source: Limelight Networks, November 2011

Criteria that are important for defining a positive mobile shopping experience according to the respondents:

  • 88% ranked the time it takes for the site to load or appear on the screen as extremely important or important
  • 88% ranked providing detailed product images on the site (for example, “zoom in” product photography or product videos) as extremely important or important
  • 82% ranked mobile site optimization, or how the site appropriately fits the screen (for example, no side-to-side scrolling), as extremely important or important

These numbers suggest that expectations for the mobile shopping experience are beginning to mirror expectations on a desktop computer. There is no mobile web as far as consumers are concerned. There is only the web. And it has to perform well.

Among the smartphone owners surveyed, 67.4% have used their device to shop online;

  • 83% of those have researched and purchased a product on a shopping site using their Internet-connected mobile device.
  • 17% have simply researched products on a shopping site using their Internet-connected mobile device. 

34% of those who use Internet-connected mobile devices to research and purchase products on shopping sites purchase once every 1-2 months or very often (more than once a week), while 33% purchase occasionally (once every 3-6 months).

Considering which features help make their mobile shopping experiences favorable, the study found that smartphone users said loading time, zooming on product, video and fit the screen without scrolling.

Importance of Features When Shopping and Researching on a Mobile Device (% of respondents)


Not Important

Somewhat Important

Extremely/Very Important

Time it takes for the site to load or appear on the screen




The site appropriately fits my screen (no scrolling)




The site provides detailed product images (eg: zoom)




Source: Limelight Networks, November 2011

For additional information, please visit Limelight here.






1 comment about "Mobile Shoppers Expect Desktop Performance".
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  1. Susan Pottish from i-Cue Design, Inc., December 15, 2011 at 3:43 p.m.

    Great study. Hopefully, these powerful statistics will help C-level executives think twice about abandoning mobile-web solutions in favor of apps alone as the way to give their customers a positive shopping experience. It's also interesting that these studies don't specifically track customer behavior with respect to the "buy" moment --for example, knowing that time is so critical to the online shopping experience, what impact is there on shoppers actually completing a transaction when the average time it takes to "add to cart" on a mobile device is 5 seconds! What difference might it make if it took only 1 second? Or 0?

    [Disclaimer: We offer a mobile web-solution to the "slow buy" problem.]

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