Digital commerce spending jumped by 31% year-over-year in Q4 2021 to reach $281.3 billion, easily the highest-ever quarter for online spending (with the next-highest being the previous quarter’s $215.8 billion), according to a State of Retail presentation [download page] from Comscore.
The 31% gain in Q4 was also the second-highest going back to Q1 2018, trailing only Q2 2021 (+35%) in growth rate.
All told, digital commerce accounted for almost one-third (31.1%) of consumers’ discretionary spending in Q4. To illustrate the extent to which digital commerce has penetrated the retail space, Comscore’s data shows that in Q4 2010 digital commerce accounted for just 8.3% of consumers’ discretionary dollars.
Mobile Commerce Surged in Q4
It was a big quarter for mobile commerce, which jumped by 44.1% year-over-year, compared to desktop’s 24.7% gain. In so doing, mobile commerce had its first $100 billion quarter, clocking in at $101 billion. It’s no wonder that e-commerce site leaders have named mobile shopper experience improvements as one of their top investment initiatives.
As a result of its big gain, mobile commerce climbed to 36% share of all digital commerce in Q4, after hovering in the 32-34% range for the 2 years prior.
Top Categories on Desktop and Mobile
Whereas Apparel & Accessories was once the top category for e-commerce spending, it has ceded that position. On desktop, Apparel & Accessories fell 2 spots to the 3rd-largest spending category, trailing Grocery, Baby, Pet (+1 from year-earlier period to #1) and Furniture, Appliances, & Equipment (+4 to #2).
Grocery, Baby, Pet was also the top-spending category on mobile in Q4, followed by Apparel & Accessories and Computers & Peripherals. Some of the top 10 categories on mobile were not on the top 10 list for desktop spend: Event Tickets (#8); Jewelry & Watches (#9); and Sports & Fitness (#10).
Comscore highlights the growth in Event Ticket spending, showing it to be the fastest-growing category since Q2 2019, ahead of Furniture & Appliances and Grocery/Baby/Pet. Mobile is dominant in the Event Ticket category, comprising 76% of spend.
Mobile’s influence is smaller in the online grocery (Grocery/Baby/Pet) category, where it accounted for 32% of spend in Q4, although people still used their mobile devices to spend more on Grocery/Baby/Pet ($18.7 billion) than on Apparel ($17.8 billion) during Q4. The fast-growing online grocery category has tripled in online spend between Q4 2018 ($14.8 billion) and Q4 2021 ($58.4 billion).
To learn more, download the presentation here.