SINGAPORE: Mobile accounted for more than half (54%) of all e-commerce transactions in Southeast Asia in the first half of 2016, according to a new study that says brands can no longer ignore mobile as a primary means of driving sales.

In its 1H 2016 State of Mobile Commerce Report, ad tech firm Criteo also revealed that, for the first time, the top 25% of online retailers in the region saw more than half their sales coming from mobile devices, Campaign Asia reported.

And across all retailers in Southeast Asia, mobile's share of e-commerce transactions saw a year-on-year increase of 19%, with smartphones and apps leading the way.

For example, the study found that mobile apps drove a higher proportion of consumers to purchase over the period and delivered conversions at three times the rate of mobile web.

Likewise, smartphones delivered the majority of mobile transactions, with the great majority of them completed on Android devices. Indeed, Android accounted for three times as many mobile retail transactions than Apple devices.

And in another finding, Criteo reported that, again for the first time, mobile apps saw higher order values than desktop and the mobile web.

An average of US$127 was spent in-app compared with US$100 on desktop, leading Yvonne Chang, Executive Managing Director at Criteo, to state that mobile e-commerce in the region has reached a "tipping point".

"Mobile commerce has reached a tipping point and is surpassing desktop purchasing as regional retailers continue to invest in mobile-shopping platforms," she said.

"However, retailers must go one step further and create a truly seamless mobile and cross-device experience to engage users along their digital paths to purchase," she added.

"Brands that master the mobile trend will have a head start over competitors, as well as the momentum to lead the pack in the shopping seasons ahead."

The Criteo study provided further evidence that a mobile-first consumer landscape is becoming a reality in Southeast Asia – a challenge that Lazada, the Singaporean e-commerce group, has been meeting.

A recent Warc report, entitled "Five insights from Lazada on e-commerce in Southeast Asia", explored how the company operates across six very different markets in the region, the opportunities these markets present, and the hurdles Lazada has had to overcome.

With smartphone penetration growing rapidly, Riccardo Basile, Lazada's Chief Commercial Officer, told Warc that placing mobile at the centre of its strategy has been key to its success.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia, Criteo; additional content by Warc staff