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Mobile visits to e-commerce sites continue to grow, with mobile now accounting for 20.8% of visits to Screen Pages' clients' websites. 

The e-commerce agency studied traffic to 13 websites, with more than 500,000 visits for the month of June. 

The stats also show the value of tablet / iPad customers to premium and luxury online retailers.

The websites studied

The 13 websites in the study are niche retailers and luxury brands, artisan chocolates, designer clothing etc. The websites have a combined average order value of £100. 

Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that these figures won't necessarily be representative of e-commerce as a whole. However, it does indicate, again, the importance of the tablet shopper for luxury brands. 

The stats

  • 20.8% of visits are mobile from mobile devices (although for one third of the sample, this figure approached 25%). Shops with a more conservative demographic are at the lower end of therange.
  • 84.5% of all mobile visits are from Apple devices.
  • iPad usage has increased to 54.9% from 46.4%, whilst the share of shoppers using iPhones has decreased from 35.5% to 29.6%
  • iPad shoppers buy more: average conversion rates on iPads are 22.5% higher, visitors converting at 3% against 2.8% for the websites overall.
  • iPhones are a problem: they convert at nearly one third of the website average at 1%.

The importance of tablet shoppers

There are now plenty of stats showing the importance of tablet (mainly iPad) users for e-commerce sites. In general, they account for a sizeable portion of mobile visits, convert at a high rate, and spend higher than the average.  

While there can be limitations in the user experience on iPads - checkout forms can be tricky, some aspects on product pages like images and video don't always work - they generally come close to the desktop experience. 

However, if they are used by a valuable section of your customer base, then testing the UX and optimising for tablet users may be a tactic that pays off.

As for the iPhone stats, as none of the websites are optimised for mobile, it's no surprise that conversion rates are so low. 

Graham Charlton

Published 20 July, 2012 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (15)

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dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hiya, Graham,

thanks for sharing all this.

Here are a couple of oddities I've found when looking at similar stuff:

1. I find iPhone converts lower than desktop/laptop even on 'mobile optimised' sites.
2. I've also found a couple of times that 'mobile optimised' sites have converted *worse* on phones than he regular desktop site.
3. iPad almost always converts at the same or a higher rate than desktop/laptop, and AOV is usually higher.
4. I haven't done anything on any 'iPad optimised' sites, but forcing iPad users into using 'mobile optimised' sites usually performs really badly.
5. If you don't have the budget to do anything major around mobile on an ecommerce site, implementing PayPal is the best bet to increase conversion.

Thanks again for sharing - actual stats around all of this stuff is really useful as there's so much misleading hype out there.

dan

about 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

(just to clarify: on point 2, I mean "showing the desktop site on phones has worked better on some sites than showing the mobile site on phones" !)

about 4 years ago

Roger Willcocks

Roger Willcocks, MD at Screen Pages

Good shout about Paypal,Dan.

My formula for building an economic case: do this maths:

(No. visits * site conversion rate * £AOV) – (No. visits * iphone conversion rate * £AOV) * 12 = the annual “possible” uplift or the loss in revenues, depending on whether you are half full or half empty.

Perhaps discount that number by 50% (as I don’t think small screens will do as well as big screens across the board).

If that's 5x than the cost of the work, do it. That's a good return.

about 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@ Dan - Great points, and yes, I wouldn't want to see a mobile optimised site on iPads, but I do think the user experience could be better. For example, I find Verified by Visa very annoying when shopping on an iPad.

about 4 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi graham,

Re Dan's points, I've seen better conversion rates on desktop version for iPad visitors than showing the mobile optimised store to iPad users.

Dan can you clarify on the PayPal comment - have you got/seen any data that shows the improvements to conversion by having PayPal for mobile commerce?

Thanks
james

about 4 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Plus I'd add that some retailers are deliberately routing iPad users to their desktop site instead of mobile store because it performs better.

However, you don't necessarily have to have a stand alone mobile store - responsive design techniques can be used to enable the page layout to be automatically reflowed to suit mobile browsers.

Thanks
james

about 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

I'm not the biggest fan of 'responsive' in the standard sense, but if it is just 2 or 3 states I like it. I take that to be what Graham means by 'mobile optimised' - ie. 1 state for desktop, 1 state for mobile.

Yes - I have seen sites where PayPal has been implemented & it has directly increased mobile results. In general I think checkout is the biggest area to optimise for mobile. Most people are fine with zooming & scrolling & navigating full websites on their phone. The checkout bit is the killer. Adding PayPal lets you get around that nastiness without having to spend massive amounts of money on mobile redesign projects. It's a nice first step.

dan

about 4 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the additional info. I'm not working with any clients who have PayPal, so not personally seen any evidence of the impact but I can see the logic as there's no need to fuss around with card info.

As for responsive design, I think it's about learning to use what your e-commerce platform can give you to repurpose templates for mobile devices without having to invest in building a completely separate site.

In a 2 state model are you assuming that tablets get the desktop version "as is" with perhaps an optimised checkout, then smartphone users get the mobile version? But even then there can be subtle difference between types of mobile device.

I think Craig Sullivan's point from an earlier post (http://econsultancy.com/uk/blog/8280-ipad-conversion-rates-twice-as-high-as-desktop-stats) is bang on - got to think about volumes. The relative benefit of creating an optimised mobile site has to be weighed against the cost of doing it. If you're getting a few hundred people each month, is there any point worrying?

Thanks
james

about 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

Agreed - I think that's exactly what Roger was saying on his comment about 5 bits up from here.

Anyone else any opinions on any of this?

dan

about 4 years ago

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Darren

Just to add a few points:

Assuming you have the traffic volume to be able to warrant a mobile site, its a must, mobile site with simple navigation and layout with PayPal for quick checkout will see high conversion - no doubt.

Tablets should, in experience, show the dekstop version of the site. However, some important tweaks should be made to the 'standard' desktop site to make it more usable. Obviously, no flash etc, but importantly hover states on navigation can be a killer, on desktop hover to get drop down and click to sub category works great, but when this is a tap and forced to category page on tablet the experience is cumbersome. These are tweaks that can be made to the desktop site without having to go as far as a responsive design, or redesign at great expense. And again, anything to make life easier in the checkout, such as paypal is going work best.

Also worth adding, for users of a desktop site and then wanting a quick simple mobile experience, having an easy to access account where address details are already stored, does make a non-paypal checkout also very easy to use.

about 4 years ago

dan barker

dan barker, E-Business Consultant at Dan Barker

hi, Darren,

Some really great points.

"mobile site with simple navigation and layout with PayPal for quick checkout will see high conversion - no doubt."

As I said, I've seen 'mobile' sites that fulfill all of that, but perform worse on mobile than the desktop equivalents. Lots and lots of devil in the detail!

dan

about 4 years ago

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James Sherrett, VP Marketing at Mobify

Hey Folks,

Good discussion here that I thought I'd contribute to with some wider-ranging data.

(Caveat: I work with Mobify. Our open mobile platform powers over 20,000 mobile websites including large mobile commerce sites for Bosch, Starbucks, Threadless, Ideeli and more.)

Many of the points discussed above are fairly accurate. We see really good, consistent numbers when comparing desktop metrics to mobile metrics. So consistent that with 3 desktop numbers -- visits, conversion rate and average order size -- we can predict mobile revenues by applying a mobile factor.

If you're interested in trying it out, here's the interactive calculator: http://www.mobify.com/roi-calculator/

But direct mobile commerce revenues only tells part of the story.

People use their mobile devices as the bridge between the physical and digital worlds. So mobile website benefits go beyond just direct new revenues and include indirect revenues and overall connection with customers.

A good guideline of indirect revenues is: $1 on mobile = $6 on e-commerce = $24 in store. We have some customers who use that 1:6:24 metric internally to recognize assisted conversions and the overall benefit they see from doing mobile optimization of their website.

Lastly, for iPad-specific optimization, mobile websites are never the right option and often desktop web experiences are fine -- they'll do alright in conversions.

But desktop websites don't maximize the potential of the device, particularly since iPads almost always represent the top category of customers -- the most affluent and the most profitable. If a business has a high repeat customer rate on iPads, optimizing the experience brings in big results from those top-tier customers.

about 4 years ago

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Consulting Agreements

In India mobile Internet traffic is about to pass by desktop Internet activity. In 2010 Internet advertising dollars on the Internet passed by newspapers.

about 4 years ago

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Hannah Norman, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

Thanks for this! It's interesting to note that iPad conversion is the same or higher than a desktop (from one of the comments). It's also a likelihood that when a tablet user is pushed to a mobile site they perhaps subconsciously feel removed from it as they expect a desktop style page view. I think it's also likely that users have the converse feeling when on a mobile browser and view an un-optimised site. With mobile browsers becoming faster and more advanced along with tablets taking a slice of the market. Sites are probably going to have to start becoming optimised for every platform available. My recent post on the Koozai site talks about this subject but from the smartphone Native vs Web app perspective. It would be good to get your views. Here is the link - http://t.co/7nl8yiis

about 4 years ago

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Onbile

Very interesting post. We tend to forget about tablets when we talk about mobile, and they are clearly the device of the future.

almost 4 years ago

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