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The Importance of Mobile Sales During the Holiday Season

By Guest Poster on November 25th, 2016 - Reading time: 3 minutes

This is a guest post by Joey Blanco of ShipStation

Are you ready to take advantage of mobile sales during the holiday season? As you probably know, mobile sales have been growing rapidly.

The image below, from a KPCB report, shows the rise of mobile and the tipping point during 2014, when mobile usage became higher than desktop usage:

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These are some of the reasons why mobile sales are going up (especially during the holidays):

  • People are on the go during the holidays and using a smartphone is an easy way to shop and compare prices across all retailers
  • Smartphone screen sizes have increased and 4G connectivity speeds are becoming faster, which makes mobile browsing more comfortable
  • Retailers are responding to interest in mobile use by making their sites mobile-friendly and creating apps
  • Consumers are becoming more comfortable making purchases on mobile

More and more people use smartphones so naturally, the things we do with them will change too.

2015 Holiday Season Mobile Commerce

Just how valuable is mobile commerce to ecommerce? The 2015 holiday season numbers provided an eye-popping snapshot of the dramatic shift in mobile commerce.

Mobile devices were used for 63% of all online retail visits during the 2015 holiday season.

According to comScore and reported in Internet Retailer, mobile devices were used for 63% of all online retail visits during the 2015 holiday season.

Mobile commerce is estimated to have accounted for 18% of total digital sales in November-December 2015, an increase from 13% in the 2014 season. A total of $12.7 billion was spent via smartphones and tablets during this period, up a huge 59% versus 2014, according to comScore figures.

Smartphones were used for 39% of visits to retail websites, an increase from 30% during the 2014 holiday season. Desktop sales fell from 78% in the 2014 holiday season to 73% in 2015. Desktop traffic decreased from 56% in 2014 to 50% during the 2015 holiday season. Tablets were used for 11% of sales during the 2015 holiday season.

Chairman emeritus of comScore, Gian Fulgoni, summarized:

“If there is an underlying takeaway from this holiday season, I think it will be remembered as the one where ‘mobile ate brick-and-mortar.’ Mobile became an essential shopping channel nearly doubling desktop in total retail traffic, while seeing growth rates approaching 60 percent year-over-year at the same time that offline retail experienced softness throughout the season. I believe that we’ve seen a paradigm shift in 2016 where the future of retail will increasingly be defined by consumers’ behavior on mobile.”

Holiday 2016 Mobile Commerce Predictions

More growth is expected in 2016. eMarketer predicts US retail mobile commerce sales will reach $123.13 billion in 2016, a 39.1% increase over 2015 and more than double the amount in 2014. If this happens, mobile commerce will account for slightly less than one-third of retail ecommerce sales and 2.6% of total retail this year.

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How to Get Ready

So what do you need to do to make sure your mobile site is ready for the holidays and the future (Google will rank mobile sites higher than desktop sites soon)? Here are a few tips to get you in the right direction:

  1. Test your mobile site’s responsivity. There are tons of tools to help you with this, but we recommend going straight to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Plus, Google will give you resources to get your site up to par as needed.
  2. Make sure your mobile shopping experience matches how customers actually use and hold their phones. CrazyEgg has an extensive article detailing how you can design this process to make the most sense.
  3. The ease of checking out on mobile will make or break a purchase. Bigcommerce has 16 ways you can optimize checkout to get it better than ever before.
  4. When it comes to mobile-friendly coupons, don’t reinvent the wheel. Check out these apps that can help you either create coupons quickly or that have templates you can use.

Your fourth quarter sales strategy needs to include a focus on mobile. Consumers are using mobile more and more, and smart ecommerce companies are providing ways to help them in their digital buying efforts.

About the author

joey-blanco-image

I’m Joey, ShipStation’s Content & Social Media Coordinator. I spent over a year on ShipStation’s Support team which has given me great insight into our product and our users. Outside of work, you’ll find me writing, getting into one of Austin’s great microbrews, or relaxing on a trail with my mutt.

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