Commentary

How Phones Are Taking Over Ecommerce

Just a couple years back, few would have believed that smartphones could emerge as the ecommerce channel of choice among most consumers.

The screens are too small, critics said. The load times are too slow, they said. It just doesn’t seem safe, they said.

What critics clearly failed to consider was the convenience that phones would soon offer. The gadgets are now by our side virtually 24 hours a day. That, and rapid improvements in design, connectivity speeds, and ecommerce interfaces have taken mcommerce mainstream.  

Indeed, top retailers are now generating almost 50% of sales from mobile, according to new third-quarter findings from the performance marketing specialists at Criteo.

Showing an industry in transition, four in 10 transactions now involve multiple devices, while cross-device purchasers are 20% more likely to complete their transactions on their mobile device than the average user.

By Criteo’s reckoning, consumers are increasingly browsing on one device -- perhaps a work PC or home laptop -- and then finalizing that transaction from their smartphone.

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Going forward, Criteo expects the fraction of cross-device transactions completed on mobile to grow quickly, as shoppers get more and more comfortable with completing purchases on the go.

Meanwhile, conversion rates on apps are now heavily outperforming even desktops, while apps are converting at a higher rate than mobile browsers -- by a factor of nearly 400% in the case of retail.

In particular, retailers who have prioritized their app experience as a key revenue driver are seeing the channel generate a significant share of transactions. For these retailers, in fact, apps are generating 58% of all mobile revenue.

What’s driving these impressive numbers?

Quite simply, the mobile app experience is fun, according to Criteo. Indeed, consumers just love swiping through visually appealing images.

As a result, the average user sees 14 products via a retailer’s app, compared to just four products on the browser. Also, an app user is nearly two-and-a-half times as likely to add products to the basket.

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