Not all mobile holiday shopping is created equal, as early results show shoppers favor different devices for precise tasks, mobile Web over apps, one operating system over another and some technology features are helping to drive incremental sales.
IOS slipped slightly as the most used operating system for mobile shopping, generating 67 percent of all mobile revenue for retailers in the first quarter this year but just 62 percent in the third quarter. Android increased 5 percent in the same period, according to a report by Skava.
IOS dominated mobile transactions on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, accounting for 81 percent of transactions analyzed by ThreatMetrix, compared to 13 percent for Android. IOS dominated mobile transactions on Cyber Monday, as well.
The Amazon Fire phone accounted for less than 1 percent of holiday traffic.
"Black Friday always sets a benchmark for the year, and this holiday shopping season we could see more traffic coming from mobile devices than desktops for the first time," said Arish Ali, Skava CEO and co-founder. "This shift presents both an opportunity and challenge to retailers, as mobile converts to a sale at a fraction of desktop."
Mobile Web accounted for 85 percent of total traffic for retailers, dominating mobile apps' 15 percent share, according to Skava. Ninety percent of revenue for mobile purchases came from mobile Web and 10 percent through apps.
Third party apps that aggregate deals, track products and issue price alerts are offering some of the best user experiences and utility this holiday season, said Amy ter Haar, an independent consultant. Retail apps that access a shopper's history and provide some customization are also finding a user base.
"We're seeing the rise of increasing consumer disloyalty, so stores will want to hold on to shoppers with their own branded apps [and] by creating a sensory experience, offering on-site delivery and easier returns," she said. "Those sorts of initiatives are really where we see the future of retail, reinventing the customer experience is going back to the beginning of retail."
This could, and should, spur retailers to invest in mobile Web or apps, according to Ali. "The majority of existing retailers' mobile websites are 'hacked' versions of their desktop site into mobile, with retailers only investing a tiny fraction into their m-commerce platform compared to e-commerce," he said. "As mobile sessions continue to increase in 2015, we anticipate that will change."
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