Amazon has taken a formidable lead in mobile commerce, tripling its number of U.S. unique mobile visitors in two years, allowing it to leapfrog over rivals Wal-Mart, eBay and Target, according to a note this week from investment firm Oppenheimer cited by Business Insider.
In December 2016, Amazon had about 70,000 U.S. unique monthly mobile visitors. By comparison, Wal-Mart and eBay each had roughly 20,000-30,000 unique mobile visitors. Just two years ago, Amazon’s U.S. mobile unique visitor count was on par with those rivals, according to Oppenheimer.
Half of U.S. online shoppers use Amazon’s mobile app, according to the report.
Mobile shopping is on the march: In three years, mobile-based sales will reach $284 billion, or 45% of the American e-commerce market — up from $33 billion, or 11% of the market in 2014, according to BI Intelligence.
Mobile devices are working their way toward becoming just as important to stores. Customers are open to using their phones in a variety of ways in stores, according to a survey released on Tuesday by mobile solutions firm DMI. Many use mobile to see store-specific promotions, check their rewards balance, check prices and inventory, receive mobile alerts when items are ready (like a prescription, deli meats, eyeglasses or altered clothing) and for more seamless checkout.
In all, some 77% of U.S. shoppers have used their smartphone in store to help them shop, DMI’s survey found. That could temper Amazon’s mobile advantage for now because the e-commerce giant’s brick-and-mortar strategy is still nascent, though there are many indications that Amazon is moving assertively into physical retail too.
The news of Amazon's advantage comes despite efforts by Wal-Mart and Target to leverage shoppers' mobile devices. Wal-Mart's app, which includes a mobile payment feature, allows users to check out in store, create or add to a shopping list using voice input, text or by scanning barcodes, check prices or product availability and locate items in store aisles, appears to be suffering from a dearth of incentives to boost its use.
Target’s Cartwheel app rewards shoppers with extra discounts, and “unlocks” further opportunities to save based on frequency of use. Target continues to add Cartwheel features, including the ability to access third-party coupons and personalized recommendations for discounts based on past purchases. But Target has also fallen out of DMI's list of mobile shoppers' top 10 favored retailers.