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Tablets reaffirm commerce might with 77pc jump in revenues: report

Tablets continue to drive significant gains in Web site traffic and ecommerce sales, with tablet traffic growing three times faster than smartphone traffic during the first half of 2013 and tablet revenue growing eight times faster, according to a report released today by MarketLive.

With only half of retailers offering a mobile-optimized Web site, the MarketLive Mid-Year Benchmark report still found that 33 percent of  Web site traffic for retailers in the first half of 2013 came from smartphones and tablets. At current rates of growth, MarketLive predicts smartphones and tablets will account for 44 percent of all Web site visits in 12 months.

“The biggest news is the dramatic increase in revenue and visits on both mobile phones and tablets, 40 percent revenue increase on phones, 77 percent increase on tablets; 40 percent increase in traffic on phones and 74 percent increase of visits on tablets,” said Ken Burke, founder and chairman of MarketLive, Petaluma, CA. “The revenue was driven by big improvements in conversion, 24 percent increase on mobile, and abandoned checkout rates, decreased by 2 percent on mobile, 4 percent on tablet,” he said.

“Maybe not surprising, but it was certainly confirmed that cross-device shopping is the new name of the game.  The cross-device buying pattern is one of the challenges with cart abandonment rates.”

Mobile shopping

Despite the significant growth in mobile, only 52 percent of merchants has a mobile-optimized site as of the second quarter of 2013.

As the 2013 holiday shopping season nears, mobile traffic and revenue numbers are expected to only increase more, pointing to the need for retailers to ensure they offer mobile shoppers a strong user experience or else they risk losing potential customers to a competitor.

Overall, smartphones accounted for 18.6 percent of Web site traffic during the first half of the year, up 40 percent, while tablets accounted for 13.5 percent, up 74 percent.

In terms of revenue, smartphones brought in 2.7 percent of revenue, up 40 percent, while tablets were responsible for 11.9 percent, up 77 percent.

Path to purchase

The numbers suggest retailers are making some improvements in the user experience for smartphone shoppers, who can get easily frustrated because of the devices’ small screens.

For example, the add-to-cart rate for smartphones was 4.4 percent, up 15 percent, while down on both tablet and desktop. Additionally, the smartphone conversion rate – while still low at 0.59 percent, improved by 24 percent, the abandoned cart rate dropped 1 percent to 86 percent and the abandoned checkout rate dropped 2 percent to 61 percent.

The average order size for smartphone shoppers was $123.60, down 14 percent.

For tablets, the conversion rate was 1.77 percent, down 2 percent. The average order size was $151.42, down 9 percent. The add-to-cart rate was 7.8 percent, down 4 percent, the abandoned cart rate was flat at 78 percent and the abandoned checkout rate was 45 percent, down 4 percent.

“The results point out that it is critical for retailers to optimize the path to purchase, not only on their Web site, but also on mobile and tablet devices,” Mr. Burke said.

“Features like saved carts and abandoned cart programs are also important to re-engage shoppers browsing across devices,” he said.

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