May 14, 2012, 1:25 PM

Retailers reap more profit from mobile shoppers

But results vary widely among merchants, a new study finds.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

Mobile shoppers make a purchase 59% more often than desktop PC shoppers and over a two-year cycle will bring in 32% more profit, according to a new study by Custora Inc., a web and mobile analytics firm that specializes in retail.

Custora examined data from five of its clients with annual sales ranging from $50 million to $150 million. Clients included retailers in housewares, daily deals and digital goods. Data on a total of 8.2 million customers were examined, the firm reports. All five retailers have m-commerce web sites and mobile apps.

Smartphone and tablet customers are 18% more likely than desktop shoppers to buy on the weekends, the study finds. But the order size during the entire week of the average mobile customer is 12% smaller.

Looking at mobile sales over the course of an average week, the proportion of mobile sales increases 60% on weekends. Monday through Friday, mobile sales as a percentage of overall web sales averaged 15%, the study finds. On the weekend that figure jumped to 24%.

When the data is examined retailer by retailer, there are stark differences. Custora compared three metrics for three retailers and found  diverse results.

A Custora housewares merchant client can expect 97% more profit from mobile customers than from desktop customers over the course of a two-year cycle, or lifetime value, the study finds. Mobile customers of housewares order 105% more often than desktop shoppers and their average order size is 13% greater. A daily deal retailer client can expect 10% less profit from mobile customers, who order 12% more often than desktop shoppers and have an average order size 22% lower. And a digital goods merchant client can expect 38% more profit from mobile shoppers, who order 66% more often and have an average order size 10% lower.

“We all know mobile commerce is growing, but there’s no easy way to categorize mobile customers—they behave differently for every retailer,” says Corey Pierson, co-founder and CEO of Custora. “To develop a mobile strategy, it’s critical to understand what mobile means for your specific customers.”

Comments | 1 Response

  • Whilst I agree with the general sentiment here, the influence of mobile on retail is growing, I think we have to treat with caution any figures where tablet use has been included as part of "mobile". As a UX agency, our research shows that the tablet is used more like a replacement for the laptop, and is often used as a "stay at home" device, and is closer to hand and more convenient for any browsing or shopping activity than a laptop or PC when at home. So unsurprisingly, if tablet is included, you're going to see a spike of mobile use at the weekends and comparably lower use during the day. However, what is clear, is that retailers do need to ensure that their sites and apps are optimised for all mobile devices and platforms, as mobile shopping is very definitely on the up.

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