Why Your E-Commerce Venture Should Be Mobile-First

The slow but steady decline of desktop usage is reflected in e-commerce figures


The move from desktop internet usage to mobile is absolutely nothing new. Mobile internet usage symbolically overtook desktop usage in 2014, a trend that has only continued as mobile sales grow and PC sales drop. Mobile internet’s perceived lack of speed is no longer an issue, and in many cases is more reliable than a wifi connection. It feels a personal injustice when my 4G drops to 3G on a journey, and 5G is a genuinely exciting prospect - mobile internet is king.

The average internet user’s sway toward mobile is reflected in sales figures, too. PC sales in the final quarter of 2015 were at their lowest since 2007 - the year Apple introduced the iPhone - according to International Data Corp, and in Q1 of 2016 PC shipments hit just 101 million units, a drop of 13% on Q1 2015. The likes of iPads have always been seen as luxury items rather than necessities and convertibles - tablets that attach to a keyboard - have severely eaten into the notebook market, which saw a huge 18% drop. Companies are now, rightly, increasingly concerned with their mobile experience and the message is clear: if you’re not offering a mobile-first, optimized experience built on convenience, you will miss out to those who are.

Mobile now constitutes half of all e-commerce transactions, according to data from marketing tech company Criteo. The figure (48.9%) has grown 6% year-on-year, and the continued fall in PC sales will only see it rise further. Despite Android’s larger market share, Apple dominates the world of mobile e-commerce, with the iPhone used in 19% of all transactions, a figure that translates to 39% of transactions made on mobile devices. That 19% is up from 12% last year, too, following the launch of game-changing Apple Pay.

The most advanced retail industry in the UK in terms of m-commerce is fashion and luxury - with 55% of all e-commerce transactions taking place on mobile. Other industries will catch up, though, particularly as in-app purchasing becomes quicker and even more streamlined. Apple Pay can now be used on the apps of Uber, JustEat, Airbnb, Starbucks and Target, negating the need for lengthy card detail entry and genuinely making mobile the most convenient way to pay for a host of services. As Apple Pay expands, and competitor equivalents properly reach the market, mobile will assume dominance over the e-commerce industry. Apple will be the true beneficiaries of a world running on Apple Pay, but your e-commerce venture should look to accommodate these new methods of payment to ensure that you’re not left behind. Customers expect convenience at every step of the journey and, if you’re not offering it, you risk turning them away.

And mobile offers greater personalization on top of its convenience factor. ’It’s clear the retail industry is undergoing an unprecedented wave of disruption and innovation,’ said Eden Zoller, principle analyst at Ovum. ‘Changing consumer behavior along with key technology developments such as AR and AI are having a profound influence on retail dynamics. As retail becomes ever more mobile-centric, the range and depth of customer data insights will continue to grow, enabling a richer, contextual view of consumers that will provide retailers with new business models and ways to engage. As retailers prepare for the road to 2026, they will need to create ever more persuasive, interactive, personal brand experiences.’ Exploit mobile to gain these insights, whilst driving conversion with a slick and hassle-free checkout to fully get the most out of your mobile-first strategy.

Criteo recently published a report looking at the projected growth of mobile payment in the next decade, and the numbers are persuasive. The advertising company predict that the number of people paying for things on mobile will skyrocket, from 453 million in 2014 to 2.07 billion in 2019, taking the value of these transactions from $51 billion to $693 billion. Going digital is now no longer enough; going mobile is essential. From brick and mortar stores to e-commerce to m-commerce, the consumer-retailer relationship moves quickly, make sure you keep up. 

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