April 18, 2012, 3:12 PM

Retailers’ m-commerce investments, traffic and revenue are up considerably

This year, 30% of retailers will invest more than $100,000, a new survey finds.

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11% of retailers will invest $201,000 or more in mobile commerce this year compared with 8% in 2011. And 19% will invest $101,000 to $200,000 this year compared with 8% last year.

These are among the findings of a new survey from research and advisory firm The E-tailing Group Inc. that show merchants are getting more aggressive in the field of m-commerce. The firm surveyed 147 senior e-commerce executives at retailers ranging in size from less than $1 million a year in annual sales to more than $5 billion, and selling merchandise in 32 product categories. 61% of the 147 retailers sell through m-commerce sites and/or mobile apps.

14% of retailers will invest $51,000 to $100,000 in m-commerce this year compared with 13% last year, the survey finds. The investment figure for $50,000 or less is 39% for 2012 and 49% for 2011. And 17% of merchants will not make an investment in mobile technology this year, down from 22% in 2011.

Big increases in traffic stemming from smartphones and tablets no doubt it a key factor driving investments in m-commerce technology. 26% of retailers currently receive 10% or more of their online traffic from mobile devices, while for 25% mobile represents 5-9.9% of traffic, the survey says. In 2011, only 9% had 5% or more mobile traffic.

13% have 3-4.9% mobile traffic compared with 19% in 2011, the survey finds. 20% have 1-2.9% this year compared with 27% in 2011. 8% have less than 1%, down from 24% last year. Only 1% have no mobile traffic compared with 6% last year. 7% of retailers do not know this figure, down from 15% last year.

Like traffic, revenue stemming from transactions conducted using smartphones and tablets is up considerably. For 5% of retailers, 10% or more of their annual sales come from consumers using mobile devices; for 18%, mobile accounts for 5-9.9% of sales, the survey finds. A mere 1% made 5% or more of their annual sales in m-commerce in 2011.

12% of merchants make 3-4.9% of their annual sales through mobile commerce, up from 9% in 2011, the survey says. 28% make 1-2.9%, up from 20% in 2011. 23% make less than 1% compared with 35% in 2011. 3% make no money through m-commerce, a major drop from 14% in 2011. 11% do not know their m-commerce sales figures compared with 21% in 2011, showing that many more retailers have begun to track m-commerce.

The E-tailing Group also questioned merchants about mobile conversion rates, and one finding stands out: Retailers may want to make special note of tablet shoppers. 22% of retailers say the conversion rate for shoppers on tablets is significantly or somewhat higher than that for PC shoppers, the survey finds. 21% says it is about the same, 23% say it is significantly or somewhat lower, and 34% do not know.

10% of merchants say the conversion rate for shoppers using m-commerce web sites is significantly or somewhat higher than that for PC shoppers, the survey says. 11% say it is about the same, 57% say it is significantly or somewhat lower, and 22% do not know.

3% say the conversion rate for shoppers using mobile apps is significantly or somewhat higher than that for PC shoppers, the survey finds. 6% say it is about the same, 18% say it is significantly or somewhat lower, and 73% do not have a mobile app or do not know.

Watch a video of Lauren Freedman, president of The E-tailing Group, discussing online merchandising at the 2011 Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition.

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