Mobile’s Share of US Digital Commerce Keeps Growing. Here’s What It Looks Like by Category.

August 21, 2019

Retail digital commerce continues to thrive, reaching $137.9 billion in Q1 2019, an increase of 15% year-on-year (y-o-y). In fact, retail e-commerce has grown to account for almost 1 in every 4  (24.1%) discretionary dollars spent by consumers, per data [download page] from Comscore.

Desktop is still the go-to device for e-commerce shoppers, with nearly three-quarters (72% share) of the dollars spent in online retail transactions occurring using a desktop device. That being said, mobile commerce continues to grow, representing 28% share of e-commerce dollars in Q1 2019, a 3 percentage point increase from the year-earlier period.

This shift over to mobile for shopping is not surprising considering other research, which has found that shoppers are starting to see their mobile devices as an essential tool during their shopping experience. Other research shows that even when shoppers begin their buying journey on other devices, many tend to finish the journey on their mobile device.

Some areas seem to have made this shift sooner, as there are shopping categories where consumers appear more comfortable using their mobile devices for purchases. In fact, just under two-thirds (64% share) of the dollars spent online for Toys & Hobbies occurred on mobile (up 5 percentage points y-o-y) during the first quarter. The majority (61% share) of dollars spent online for Video Games, Consoles & Accessories were also spent on mobile devices.

While desktop still dominates (65% share) the dollars spent on Digital Content, it’s in this category that mobile has seen the greatest y-o-y growth, rising 9 percentage points over the same quarter last year.

Other areas of considerable growth for mobile commerce include: Event Tickets (+5 points to 46% share); Flowers, Greetings & Miscellaneous Gifts (+5 points to 34%); and Food, Baby and Pet (+7 points to 29%).

Mobile has yet to make as many inroads into the Apparel & Accessories category – the largest online shopping category. For now mobile devices represent 27% of online dollars spent on the category, trailing the overall average by a point and up just a point year-over-year.

Top Retailers Do Well on Both Device Types

When looking at the number of unique users across desktop and mobile, some of the top retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Apple share their popularity across both platforms.

Not surprisingly, Amazon is the top retailer in unique user visits for both platforms. One possible reason for this, beyond Amazon’s overall dominance in the e-commerce retail space, is that US online shoppers purchase more apparel through Amazon than any of its online competitors and Apparel & Accessories is the top-ranked retail category across both mobile and desktop.

More shoppers are using mobile devices to shop from major online retailers than they did last year, and retailers such as Walmart and Wish have seen a substantial increase in mobile shopping compared to 2018. Walmart’s mobile-only unique visitor share rose from 69% in 2018 to 73% in 2019 for the same 4 month period (January- May). Similarly, Wish, which was already mostly visited by mobile-only users, saw an increase in mobile-only unique visitors from 92% to 96% share.

Mobile Apps Account for Majority of Mobile Shopping Minutes

For the most part, fewer mobile shoppers are using mobile apps versus mobile websites for their shopping needs. However, mobile apps tend to account for a larger share of minutes spent shopping on mobile.

The starkest example from the Comscore data is with the e-commerce site, Etsy. While Etsy’s mobile website accounted for the majority (89%) of unique visitors compared to its mobile app (19%), 71% of the total minutes spent on mobile were spent on the Etsy’s mobile app.

The full Comscore presentation and data can be accessed online here.

About the Data: Report data is based on the Comscore Digital Commerce Measurement, U.S, Q1 2019.

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