While mobile commerce remains a minority activity, it is experiencing strong growth, with 8% of online shoppers making a purchase from their phones this Christmas, up from just 2% last year. 

This statistic comes from a survey of 10,000 shoppers by ForeSee Results, which also looks at popular mobile activities, and how customers rate mobile user experience. 

How many customers are shopping via mobile? 

I looked at some mobile traffic stats last week, which showed a surge in visits to mobile sites around Christmas, and the ForeSee stats show a similar trend. 

While just 8% are actually making a purchase by mobile, many more are using their phones for product research. 32% accessed a retailer’s website via mobile over Christmas (up from 23% in 2009), and a further 32% plan to do so in future. 

Last Christmas, just 2% made a purchase via mobile, which shows the growth that has taken place this year. By comparison, the same survey in the US found that 11% had made a purchase on their phones.  

What are mobile vistors looking for? 

The majority (47%) used their mobiles for checking prices, 34% for product comparison, 20% to look up product details, while 15% looked for user reviews. 

Of customers using their mobile while in stores, 67% accessed that retailer’s website, but 26% visited a competitor’s site, and 18% headed for a price comparison site. 

User experience issues

Providing the best mobile user experience is something that retailers need to be focusing on this year. The retailers that can make their mobile sites and apps easy to use will be in the best position to attract users. 

Not surprisingly, customers find traditional websites more satisfactory than mobile apps and sites, with a score of 72% for desktop and 67% for mobile. That the gap isn’t higher possibly says as much about the usability of many desktop sites as that offered by retailers on mobile. 

The customer experience has an impact across channels, and a good mobile site can have a knock-on effect elsewhere. Shoppers who have been satisfied with a mobile site are 32% more likely to buy online from that retailer, and 31% more likely to make a purchase offline.