Mobile drives US holiday ecommerce

18 February 2013

NEW YORK: Visits to ecommerce sites via tablets or smartphones more than doubled during the recent US holiday period, new figures have shown.

Data in the latest Ecommerce Quarterly from Monetate, the data analyst, show that on the post-Thanksgiving "Cyber Monday" visits via these channels increased from 7.9% to 18.9%.

Kurt Heinemann, CMO, Monetate, pointed to the Christmas Day figures as being particularly revealing.

"On 25 December, 15% of all ecommerce traffic came from tablets, whereas the average tablet traffic percentage in December was about 10%. This reveals the mobile is increasingly the device of choice."

"When consumers have leisure time and any device at their disposal, they reach for the tablet or smartphone," he added. "Ecommerce had better be paying attention to this trend."

The survey also noted that the rate of smartphone conversions remain low, at just 1.2% compared with 4% for tablets, even while smartphone traffic was around 10%.

Commenting in the report, Evan LaPointe, of the Search Discovery marketing agency, suggested this is because people search for things of interest while waiting for trains or planes or "using the facilities", with the intention of following up when in a more suitable location.

Commenting on high cart abandonment rates on phones, he posited that people are using a smartphone as a "bookmarking" device and would resume shopping on their tablet or laptop computer later in the day, in a multi-device scenario.

If that were the case, he proposed cart abandonment as a metric to maximize, with appropriate website copy advising the shopper their items will still be there when they come back.

In terms of what was actually bought online during the holiday period, the apparel and accessories category was most popular, followed by books, tickets, daily deals and consumer electronics.

Data sourced from Monetate/MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff