Confidence In Smartphone M-commerce May Be Approaching Tablets

Something about the small screen still vexes even the most veteran of online shoppers. For years now we have seen commerce and conversions over tablets ramp up quickly as these devices located a new sweet spot in consumer receptivity. At the end of the long workday, leaning back, on the couch, in front of the best salesman on earth, TV, users quickly got comfortable hitting buy buttons on tablet screens, Within months of the iPad's launch, I recall the first metrics suggesting that this larger touchscreen was about to become a cash register.

Meanwhile, conversions on mobile phones lagged. Portability, the public nature of its use, the smallness of the screen? Whatever it was, smartphones seemed to present a native barrier to e-commerce as many users came to know it online. Perhaps until now. The latest index of e-commerce transaction on the Adyen platform shows that in the May to August quarter 52.6% of mobile purchase among its merchants, which include KLM, PopCap Games, Vodafone, Mango and SoundCloud, occurred on mobile phones, compared to 46.8% in the previous quarter. Adyer speculated that this might be a summer thing. Consumers are more mobile themselves and so more dependent on the handset than the tablet. We will have to see if there is a trend next quarter. But another way to read the metrics are that people are becoming more comfortable with the mobile phone buy button.



Tablets are coming on especially strong overseas, where in Asia and South America they are the purchase platform of choice over smartphones. In the U.S., however, the sheer scale and comfort level with phone buying dominates so that we see 10.8% of transactions coming from handhelds and 5.8% from tablets.

Overall, mobile is continuing to gain a greater share of all the digital commerce Adyer measures, hopping from 13.8% of all transactions in May to 17.6% in August. The share of purchases on devices went up 27% in just three months. While 9.2% of all sales were coming from smartphones, 8.3% were from tablets. The m-commerce economy still favors iOS heavily, however. Apple's iPhone and iPad were responsible for 75% of transactions. Windows Mobile is still a negligible m-commerce force, garnering only .6% of all mobile buys but it grew 20% in a quarter.

Travel, Ticketing and Retail are the hot areas for m-commerce growth right now. Adyer found in the last quarter that travel transaction on device were up 20.5%, now responsible for 24.1% of all travel purchases made online. In this category, smartphones are edging out tablets with 13.27% of e-transactions versus 10.9%.

In retail, which saw a 16.75% increase in mobile transactions, the share of purchases being made on devices reached 17.5%. Still, tablet-based buying is nearly double that of purchases made on smartphones.

Likewise, ticketing was up 22% on mobile in the quarter, now responsible for 18.3% of digital sales.

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