Mobile Now Accounts For At Least Half of E-Commerce Spending in 5 Categories

November 28, 2017

Mobile commerce has grown to represent 23% of all digital commerce dollars in the US in Q3 2017, reveals comScore in its latest State of the Online Retail Economy report [download page]. That’s up from 20% share in the year-earlier period, as mobile commerce growth (+40% year-over-year) continues to far outpace desktop e-commerce spending increases (+17%).

Each of the top 10 online retailers by digital audience sees a majority of its audience visiting on mobile devices, per the report. However, that advantage doesn’t necessarily translate to actual spending: mobile’s 23% share of total e-commerce dollars pales in comparison to its 62% share of retail digital media time.

The well-known “conversion gap” between mobile devices (smartphones in particular) and desktops means that a desktop visit is worth almost 4 times more to retailers than a smartphone visit, according to Adobe Digital Insights.

Which Categories Skew Most Mobile?

Several categories outpace mobile’s 23% share of digital commerce dollars. In fact, mobile’s share of online retail spending meets or exceeds the majority threshold in five categories tracked by comScore.

Those are:

  • Toys & Hobbies: 58% share (up from 57% in Q1 2017);
  • Video Games, Consoles & Accessories: 55% (down from 60%);
  • Music, Movies, & Videos: 51% (up from 43%);
  • Jewelry & Watches: 51% (down from 55%); and
  • Flowers, Greetings & Gifts: 50% (up from 36%).

Mobile’s share of e-commerce purchases is also above-average in two key product categories: Apparel & Accessories (the #1 category online); and Furniture, Appliances & Equipment (one of the fastest-growing categories).

By contrast, mobile plays a much smaller role in digital commerce spending for Office Supplies (11%), Computer Hardware (13%) and Consumer Electronics (14%).

Total E-Commerce Spending Exceeds $100B Again in Q3

For the third quarter as a whole, e-commerce spending totaled $102.3 billion, representing a 21% increase over Q3 2016.

By the end of the quarter, digital commerce represented more than one-sixth (17.7%) of all consumer discretionary spending, per the report. That’s up from 15.3% share a year earlier, but couldn’t quite match the peak of 19% set in Q1 2017.

The 17% year-over-year increase in spending on desktop devices was driven by a range of factors, including:

  • 6% more buyers (237 million);
  • 20% more transactions (935 million);
  • 10% more dollars per buyer ($332); and
  • 13% more transactions per buyer (3.9).

Shoppers were once again driven by free shipping, which was present in almost two-thirds (65%) of e-commerce transactions during the quarter.

The full report is available for download here.

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