Phones top tablets in sales, traffic for first time

Mobile topped tablets as a percentage of online sales and traffic for the first time, according to the State of Retailing Online 2016. The survey, conducted by, Forrester Research and Bizrate Insights, revealed that smartphones accounted for 17 percent of total online sales in 2015, versus 14 percent of sales coming from tablets.

Overall, sales from phones grew 53 percent in 2015 and tablet sales grew 32 percent. Over the holidays alone, 30.4 percent of online sales were placed on mobile devices, according to Custora.

Despite the results, 30 percent of those surveyed say they invested less than $10,000 on smartphone platforms in 2015, and 17 percent kept their budgets between $10,000 and $50,000. In comparison, 11 percent of those retailers put between $10,000 and $50,000 into tablet investments last year.

"Retailers are now recognizing that their customers may not need a bigger, more expansive shopping experience on mobile platforms—they need a consistent, relevant and user-friendly experience that will shape their online and in-store shopping behaviors," said Vicki Cantrell, NRF Senior VP and Executive Director. "Even with relatively small investments in their mobile initiatives, retailers are seeing tremendous growth in both sales that come from smartphones and the level of customer engagement from mobile across the brand."

However, retailers do plan to grow their mobile investments in 2016. Thirty-four percent will grow their investments between 1 and 20 percent, and 22 percent will grow their tablet investment more than 20 percent.

"It's the age of the customer and retailers need to be wherever shoppers are when they're browsing and buying. It's essential to provide value on those devices and in those moments, which are often in stores," said Sucharita Mulpuru, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst. "While mobile phones still represent promise, savvy retailers will be leveraging mobile with their customers to positively influence in-store sales as well."

In addition, the survey found that mobile is growing as an important tool for store associates: 36 percent use mobile devices in stores, and one-quarter of those use tablets. Two in five say their associates use tablets to show additional products not available in stores, and four in 10 use the devices to send e-receipts. Another 23 percent use tablets to check inventory in warehouses and 21 percent use tablets to check their actual in-store inventory.

Looking toward the future, m-commerce is expected to increase as much as 68 percent from 2015 to 2016, based on an analysis by Bizrate Insights of month-over-month order volume.

For more:
-See this NRF press release

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