Prior to Thanksgiving 2014, estimates suggested that mobile commerce would make up a significant percentage of online sales this Holiday season.
Those estimates were right on point.
This year, mobile commerce made up a crushing 32.3% of U.S. online sales. In addition, mobile devices accounted for 52.1% of online shopping traffic, suggesting that mobile devices were a component of numerous sales even if they were not ultimately made on that device.
To break it down even further: smartphones made up 36.4% of mobile traffic, where tablets made up 15.4%. That said, tablets actually accounted for 17.9% of online sales, where smartphones accounted for 14.4%.
We are also able to gain a bit of insight into user behavior on the path-to-purchase. Many used mobile devices to search for gifts and other holiday purchases. Of those searches, a full half resulted in a purchase.
Mobile apps in particular are gaining in popularity. Forbes recently noted that online retailers prefer mobile apps because they cut through the clutter of email and social channels, allowing merchants to reach customers directly. They also allow merchants to reach all of their audience at once, an increasingly large benefit as Facebook continues to tweak its algorithm to limit non-paid content brands can use to reach their fans.
It is obvious that businesses are taking notice of mobile app functionality in droves. A recent IBM study indicates that 94% of CMOs plan to incorporate native apps into their mobile marketing strategy within the next 3-5 years.
The mobile trends continued over the busy post-Thanksgiving weekend sales days. Despite an overall lackluster Black Friday, online sales continued to grow. Overall, mobile devices were used in nearly 30% of all online sales.
Mobile also demonstrated a strong presence during Cyber Monday, where it accounted for almost 40% of all online traffic, and 23% of online sales. Again, tablets edged out smartphones for volume of purchases, accounting for 12.5% of sales compared to smartphones 10.5%.
All of this data points to one thing: mobile commerce is very quickly becoming the dominant force in ecommerce. Merchants should ensure that they have a strong mobile presence this Holiday season and beyond!