Phones drive 94% increase in online traffic

The smartphone is increasingly the device of choice for online shoppers and is driving e-commerce growth.

The number of consumers who are browsing, creating baskets and making purchases from smartphones is on the rise, according to the latest research from Demandware. Globally, phones accounted for 94 percent of the year-over-year increase in traffic, 74 percent of the increase in basket creation and 47 percent of the order growth.

Shoppers are growing online shopping baskets by adding items to carts from mobile devices, an activity that is up 15 percent from last year, according to the Demandware Shopping Index.

         Image courtesy of Demandware Shopping Index 2015 Q2

Not all smartphone activity is incremental, but comes at the expense of tablets. Traffic from tablets is down 10 percent from last year and order share has declined 2 percent.

"Consumers have adopted phones as their shopping companion. Since the phone has a home in our pockets or purses, it affords us the opportunity to shop at any moment," said Rick Kenney, industry principal for intelligence and innovation at Demandware. "The tablet has a limited orbital of context, generally the home, and typically stationary to the living room and/or bedroom—and overall sales of tablets is dwarfed by phones. The phone is essentially everywhere."

"Phones also lend themselves nicely to the shopping cart," he said. "Which is due in large part to the mobility of the cart made convenient with mobile phone."

The computer still plays a role in the shopping journey, which begins more often with the phone and ends with a computer—65 percent of digital purchases still take place on the computer.

But the computer as the favored place to close a purchase may not hold true for much longer. There is significant order erosion—a 7 point drop year over year, according to Kenney—and the continued adoption of mobile ordering will likely spur further declines.

"Consumers are adopting mobile shopping more and more, though as the data shows, we have not yet reached the tipping point, even for traffic share," he said. "With better, bigger phones, faster internet connections, we should naturally see increases in orders on phones."

In fact, the coming holiday season and fourth quarter could see that tipping point reached, Kenney predicted. Particularly since barriers to m-commerce are being broken down with the advance of mobile wallets and more secure mobile payment options. Mobile commerce could well top $217 billion by 2019.

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