Forrester: Mobile Payments Getting in the Way of Mobile Shopping

May 10, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

We all know that a lot of ground has been gained in mobile payments recently, with new competitors entering the fray  regularly and new types of payment systems emerging as well. Yet a report from Forrester suggests that mobile shopping is actually on the decline, and mobile payments may have something to do with it.

The Forrester study found a disturbing point as regards mobile phone-based shopping: it’s on the decline. Specifically, US sales made via mobile phones dropped to 36 percent of the total this year, down from 43 percent in 2016. Worse, ecommerce actually grew 14 percent during the same period.

This basically means that ecommerce is growing, but the percentage of users turning to mobile devices to do that shopping is on the decline. Forrester cites payment methods as being one big problem. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said that it’s easier to make a purchase on a desktop or laptop computer.

Another 30 percent said that mobile screens were too small to shop effectively, and another 22 percent (if you’ve noticed that adds up to 103 percent, it’s a safe bet rounding was involved) noted that their monthly data allowance was getting in the way.

There are several theories as to what’s going on here, but one of the leaders seems to be “hyperadoption and hyperabandonment,” a theory that basically suggests people will leave about as fast as they came in. This suggests that the growth patterns for mobile shopping may be coming to an end, though there’s still plenty of activity in the field. Further, no one’s quite sure if a slowing in the growth rate is a temporary hiccup, or a trend in the making.

Retailers can help on this front by making the shopping experience better overall. While there’s only so much that can be done about mobile device screen size, consider taking advantage of the various head-mounted systems to make images seem larger. Further, mobile devices are often used as advance scouting systems for when people have a little bit of time to fit something into their day. Take advantage of this by offering better search and discovery features.

In the end, it doesn’t matter so much where people do their shopping, so long as they buy.