A Merry Mobile Shopping Season
If the past several weeks have taught online retailers anything, it's that mobile purchasing has finally arrived. The first inkling that this holiday season might serve as a coming out party for mobile buying came when comScore reported that 55 percent of all June e-retail traffic was delivered via a mobile device, marking the first time that mobile traffic exceeded traditional desktop visits. While visits don't always translate into sales, especially given the rise of showrooming, the numbers this holiday season can't be overstated. Mobile accounted for roughly 21 percent of all Black Friday digital sales in the U.S. — $314 million out of $1.512 billion — and the trend continued on Cyber Monday, with mobile generating $350 million in sales, 17 percent of total online sales for the day.
The fact is that these numbers will only continue to grow as consumers become increasingly more comfortable with the idea of making purchases via mobile devices. According to IBM, Cyber Monday 2012 mobile sales reached close to 13 percent of total sales, an increase of more than 96 percent over 2011, while Cyber Monday's 2013 mobile sales exceeded 17 percent of total online sales, an increase of 55.4 percent year-over-year.
Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com, predicted that 2013 would be a tipping point for mobile shopping. It appears he was right on the money as mobile spending ended up accounting for one out of every five online dollars spent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. The question now becomes how online retailers can exploit this mobile migration in time for the 2014 holiday season. It starts with mobile site and application performance.
Over the years there's been a common misconception around the idea that users are willing to wait longer for mobile sites. Studies have shown that's simply not the case. Mobile commerce sites loaded in an average of 8.63 seconds the week prior to Cyber Monday this year, and additional traffic ballooned that number to 9.75 seconds the week of Cyber Monday, according to the Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index. The problem is that the majority of mobile users expect mobile sites to load significantly faster than either of those averages. In fact, a recent Radware study reports that only 2 percent of pages in the Retail Top 100 load in under four seconds, despite the fact that the majority of users expect mobile sites to load in less than 4 seconds. For online retailers to truly capitalize on the growing potential mobile shoppers represent, they need to recognize that mobile performance will quickly become one of the greatest competitive differentiators.