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Alexandra Biesada

Mobile Shopping Will Surge in Fourth Quarter, Facebook Predicts

by Alexandra Biesada | Dun & Bradstreet Editor

October 27, 2015 | No Comments »

Person using smartphone mobile device to shop onlineChances are you’ll make a purchase using a mobile device this holiday season.

An analysis by Facebook IQ, the social network’s in-house consumer research arm, predicts that the number of online purchases made over a mobile device will grow 30% in the fourth quarter. The projection comes during a year of robust growth for retail mobile-commerce sales. Between January and May, three in 10 online purchases took place on a mobile device (24% on a smartphone, 6% on a tablet) versus desktop devices. The frequency of mobile purchases increased 35% over the same period.

In a blog post entitled The Thumb Is in Charge, Facebook IQ asserts that growth in mobile shopping sales is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.

With 73% of people reporting that their mobile device is always with them, purchases are just a couple of thumb taps away. As smartphones have become our constant companions, the amount of time we spend on them — be it for socializing, gaming, listening to music, watching videos, or shopping — has increased dramatically. As such, US retail m-commerce sales are estimated to reach $74 billion this year, up 32% from 2014, according to eMarketer. By 2019 that figure is expected to double to roughly $149 billion.

The migration of online shopping from desktop to mobile devices has important implications for marketers and retailers alike. Mobile devices come into play in some way in 45% of all shopping occasions — whether researching a potential purchase or making it.

Looking ahead, Facebook forecasts that 60% of omnichannel shoppers say they’ll either start purchasing or purchase more on their smartphone in 2016.

To capture attention on the small screen, Facebook offers this advice…

  • Think people, not devices: To reach the right people at the right time, marketers need to understand how and where they engage, discover, and share.
  • Know the journey: The path from connection to conversion isn’t always linear, with people switching devices and channels at will.
  • Design for the thumb: To prevent the quick flip or page scroll, marketers need to think about more than mobile design; it takes personalization, visualization, and experimentation. The better marketers understand the user experience, the better they can create an engaging and sticky experience for mobile shoppers.

Other interesting results from Facebook’s new research include:

  • Among mobile shoppers, older consumers, including baby boomers, prefer shopping on tablets, while millennials and teens are more apt to use their smartphones.
  • Boomers prefer to shop mobile websites, while younger consumers gravitate toward apps
  • Mobile shoppers tend to spend more money on mobile websites, but shop more frequently on apps

Industry Impact: Marketers and retailers who optimize the research and purchasing experiences for small-screen mobile devices are more likely to capture a growing share of surging retail m-commerce sales.

Alexandra Biesada shops everyday, whether she wants to or not, and pines for the days when it was strictly a recreational activity. She has covered the retail beat for Hoover’s since 2001. Follow her on Twitter.

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