In Japan and the UK, Mobile Overtakes Desktops in Retail E-Commerce Transactions

September 19, 2016

criteo-mobile-share-retail-e-commerce-transactions-q2-sept2016Mobile has reached an important threshold in two countries, and is poised to do so in another, according to Criteo’s State of Mobile Commerce Report [download page] for H1 2016. Based on an analysis of more than 3,300 online retail businesses that account for $720 billion in annual sales, Criteo has determined that mobile devices now drive a majority share of retail e-commerce transactions in Japan and the UK. South Korea is close behind, with mobile devices accounting for 48% of transactions measured during the second quarter of this year.

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Japan and the UK are on the forefront of mobile shopping transactions. A recent Adobe Digital Insights report revealed, for example, that smartphones drove a greater share of site visits in Japan (37.9%) last year than in any other country measured. (Second on the list? South Korea, at 31.6%.) As for the UK, last year it was expected to take the lead in mobile share of total retail e-commerce, and other research suggests that more than 60% of e-commerce traffic there comes from mobile.

It’s worth noting that the Criteo data shows the share of transactions for mobile and desktop, rather than overall spending. That’s likely lower, as average order values are typically higher on desktops than on smartphones.

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Nevertheless, mobile’s share of transactions is growing across markets, per the Criteo study. It increased on a year-over-year basis across each of the 12 countries identified, including particularly rapid rises in Australia (42%, up from 33%) and Brazil (23%, up from 14%).

In the US, more than one-third (35%) of retail e-commerce orders were completed on a mobile device, up from 30% a year earlier. While that remains below the leading countries, some retailers are now seeing mobile’s growing influence: for the first time, the top quartile of retailers in the US (by mobile share of transactions) saw a majority (52%) of their sales come from mobile devices in Q2. Fashion and luxury continued to be the leading sub-vertical in the US, with more than 40% of that category’s e-commerce sales occurring on mobile devices.

Continuing a theme seen in other analyses (such as this one), smartphones’ influence is growing much more rapidly than tablets, which are stagnant or even receding. The Criteo data indicates, for example, that 70% of US mobile retail transactions took place on a smartphone in Q2, up from 54% in the year-earlier period.

In other results from the report, when limiting the analysis to sites that have both a mobile website and an app, with more than one-quarter of e-commerce transactions occurring on mobile, 5% of which are from mobile apps, the study found that:

  • A majority (54%) of mobile retail transactions took place in-app rather than in the mobile browser;
  • Mobile app conversion rates were 1.5 times higher than desktop rates, which in turn were twice as high as mobile browser conversion rates; and
  • Average order value was higher on apps than mobile browser and in fact also higher than on desktops.

About the Data: The Criteo data is based on more than 3,300 online retail businesses globally, which account for 1.7 billion transactions per year across desktop and mobile sites and $720 billion in annual sales.


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