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80.6% of US smartphone users (85.9 million in total) accessed retail content on their devices in July, either via mobile browser or application, says comScore, basing the finding on data from its Mobile Metrix 2.0 service. Amazon Sites was the leading destination with 49.6 million visitors, representing 46.6% reach among the US smartphone audience. Following Amazon were eBay (32.6 million; 30.6% reach), Apple (17.7 million; 16.6% reach), Wal-Mart (16.3 million; 15.3%), and Target (10 million; 9.4% reach).

Affiliate marketers, comparison sites and deal sites also attracted shoppers. Shopkick, a rewards application providing points for consumers who visit its retail partners’ physical (including Target, Macy’s and Best Buy among others) reached more than 4 million smartphone visitors in July, underscoring how consumers turn to their mobile devices as part of their in-store shopping experience.

Reach Higher Among iOS Users

Comparing iPhone and Android users, Amazon ranked as the top retailer, reaching 43% of iPhone users and 55% of Android users, with visits to the Amazon Appstore the reason for the higher reach among Android users. By contrast, and unsurprisingly, Apple commanded a much stronger reach among iPhone owners compared to Android users (33.5% vs. 7.3%).

Across the majority of selected retailers, reach was greater among the iPhone audience than the Android audience, while Android devices typically delivered a larger audience due to the platform’s higher overall market penetration.

Although the comScore data doesn’t differentiate between mobile apps and mobile browser use, an eDigitalResearch report released in May suggests that smartphone owners prefer shopping via mobile-optimized sites rather than mobile applications. 51% of respondents said they had shopped via the former, compared to 45% who had done so via the latter. March analysis from Nielsen appears to supports this inclination. According to that study, during the 2011 holiday season, the top 5 retailer mobile websites had far greater reach among US smartphone owners than the top 5 retailer mobile applications.

Women More Engaged With Retail Content

Further data from comScore indicates that although women accounted for 49% of unique smartphone visitors to the retail category, they accounted for a much higher 56.1% of total minutes spent with this content. The same pattern applied to desktop and laptop visitors: women accounted for a higher share of time spent (53.4%) than share of visitors (51.4%).

Smartphone shoppers tend to be younger than desktop shoppers, with 70.7% of smartphone retail content visitors aged under 45, versus 61.1% of desktop shoppers. Among smartphone owners, visitors under 45 account for nearly 3 in every 4 minutes spent on retail content, compared to 61.6% of retail minutes on desktop.

Finally, smartphone shoppers tend to reside in higher-income households compared to desktop shoppers, which comScore believes is a likely result of smartphone ownership skewing towards higher income segments. Nearly 1 in 3 smartphone shoppers have a household income of greater than $100k, and this higher-income segment accounts for 31.2% of minutes spent on retail sites and apps.

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