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Email drives 27pc of sales on mobile, social just 0.6pc: report

Email marketing is playing a much bigger role in driving sales on mobile phones than social media, according to a new report from Custora.

Per the report, email drove 27 percent of sales on mobile phones compared to only 21 percent on desktop and 23 percent on tablets. At the same time, social media accounted for only 0.6 percent of sales on phones and 0.2 percent on tablets.

“This is a surprising data point considering the challenges of displaying email correctly on mobile devices, and deep-linking into mobile apps,” said Corey Pierson, CEO of Custora.

“Social media accounted for less than 1 percent of mobile e-commerce purchases – indicating that social media marketing efforts do not directly lead to conversion and sales on mobile devices, at least not for now,” he said.

Mobile customer lifetime value
The Mobile Commerce report, based on The Custora E-Commerce Pulse data, was culled from over 100 online retailers, 70 million consumers and $10B in transaction revenue.

Other key findings from the report include that mobile shoppers are less valuable. Compared to shoppers who buy exclusively on desktop computers, the customer lifetime value of shoppers who buy exclusively on mobile phones is 22 percen lower, mostly because their average order value is lower.

The customer lifetime value of tablet shoppers is 5 percent lower that desktop shoppers, mostly because they buy less frequently.

The report also found that Apple’s share of ecommerce orders from mobile phones decreased from 75 percent in 2012 to 54 percent as of March 2014.

The decline has taken place as mobile orders, overall, continue to increase, with Samsung stealing share from Apple. During the same period, Samsung’s share of phone orders grew from 7 percent to 31 percent.

 Apple’s shrinking share
Apple’s role in tablet orders is still strong, with the iPad accounting for 80 percent of ecommerce orders from tablets. However, Samsung is gaining here as well, with Samsung tablets’ share growing from 2 percent in 2012 to 12 percent as of March 2014.

Amazon is also an increasingly important player in tablet sales, with purchases made on Kindle Fire tablets accounting for 4.1 percent of all tablet orders. These findings suggests the recently announced Amazon Fire phone will be a force to be reckoned with in mobile ordering.

Other key findings include that the  mobile ecommerce market will reach $50 billion in 2014, up 19-fold in the past four years. In the first quarter of 2014 alone, mobile e-commerce sales totaled $12.2 billion.

A Groupon email.

Mobile is also playing a significant role in the amount of traffic to ecommerce sites, with 47 percent of visits to online stores coming from mobile devices in the first quarter of 2014. That number is up from only 3 percent at the beginning of 2010.

The report also points to growing prevalence of cross-device shoppers.

“Cross-device shoppers are a small but highly valuable customer segment,” Mr. Pierson said. “As of Q1 2014, just 12 percent of online shoppers make purchases on more than one device type – however this represents significant growth from only 4 percent in 2012.

“This customer segment is also 19 percent more valuable, in terms of customer lifetime value, than the average single-device shopper,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York