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Mobile Letdown; Consumers Buying Less on Smartphones

Posted on 10.30.2016

Consumers are visiting retailers digital properties on their smartphones but they just don't seem to be buying anything - or at least not as much as they do on desktops and tablets.

Adobe's new 2016 Digital Insights Mobile Retail report found that while smartphones have seen steady year-over-year growth in share of traffic and revenue, conversions have not been high enough to offset the declines in desktop and table usage. Adobe's data shows that smartphone traffic to retail sites grew 33 percent year over year, but overall traffic for the average retailer remained flat with the desktop and tablet traffic both falling by six and 10 percent respectively.

As it stands today, desktop conversions are 2.8 times higher than smartphones and tablet conversions are twice as high. So much for mobile taking over.

What this ultimately means is that online retailers (and sellers in general) are going to need to get better at converting mobile visitors in order to offset those declines in desktop.

“The shopping cart is a critical page to convert shoppers, but the experience has not been optimized on mobile and it has left many users to either buy less or abandon their carts completely,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst, Adobe Digital Insights. “It will be critical for retailers to better personalize the experience so that users will be compelled to purchase more on their smartphones, while better integrating technologies such as mobile wallets to create a seamless experience within apps and browsers.”

Additional findings in the report include:

  • The average order value (AOV) on desktops ($155) outperformed smartphones ($120) by 35 dollars per order. The revenue-per-visit (RPV) on smartphones is 3.6 times lower than on desktops.
  • Desktop is driving 75 percent of total revenue for retailers with 59 percent of traffic, and smartphones driving just 16 percent of total revenue with 32 percent of traffic.
  • During the regular retail season, 26 percent of carts result in an order on desktops, but only 16 percent of carts lead to an order on smartphones.
  • Sixty percent of retail apps are used less than 10 times. The retail industry experiences the highest abandonment rate compared to other industries including health care (55 percent), media and entertainment (54 percent) and financial services (54 percent).
  • Survey data also shows that 45 percent of consumers use only one to two shopping apps on average, making the entrance into that market difficult.
  • For the upcoming holiday season, 60 percent of consumers say that in general, they plan on using mobile browsers instead of apps for shopping.
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