Mobile eCommerce is Mostly Smartphones Now

October 20, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

Granted, there were only so many options when it came to how mobile commerce is transacted, but for the most part—according to a new study from Javelin Strategy & Research—the smartphone is leading the way, accounting for $7 for every $10 spent on mobile.

That would be impressive by itself, but it only gets better in that the total amount of mobile commerce is at last report up around the $120 billion mark. That’s up 60 percent from the previous year, so it’s clear that this field is taking off in grand fashion.

Some issues, however, are afoot, perhaps one of the biggest being that the mobile experience is being treated a lot like the desktop online experience.

Shoppers are buying more through mobile Web browsers—around $75.3 billion total—which is substantially higher than native app use, which accounted for $46.9 billion.

This led Javelin Strategy & Research director of mobile Emmett Higdon to offer some perspective on what businesses can do in light of this. Improve the overall experience, make it secure and also easy to use, and even provide some mobile-only experiences with the ability to preview purchases or, where possible “virtually ‘try’ products”.

A great wish list, but to what end? When so many customers are going through browsers instead of the mobile app, is augmenting the mobile app going to do much good? Granted, a really top-notch mobile app might pull some of the browser shoppers into the native app, but it’s entirely possible that a lot of that market is sticking to browsers.

Inertia is a tough thing to break, and right now, the browser is tops. Perhaps the best approach here is to use the browser instead; augmenting a browser experience can be done, though mobile browsers might have more limitations than standard browsers.

Either way, the key takeaways remain. Smartphones are king of mobile commerce and browsers are king of smartphones.

Without a really impressive native app to break the inertia, shoppers may well stick to browsers and inherently limit the market.