May 7, 2014, 5:29 PM

M-commerce sales on smartphones soar 116% in April

Plain and simple, more consumers are getting comfortable buying goods on smartphones, Branding Brand says. In addition to the sales jump, 18 of the mobile platform vendor’s retailer clients saw visits on smartphones rise 84%. And the iPhone continues to dominate.

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Chris Mason, co-founder and CEO of mobile commerce platform vendor Branding Brand, is an m-commerce veteran. He’s seen it all. And closely analyzing the latest data on a subset of his retailer clients, he says one thing is quite clear: Consumers are becoming much more comfortable making purchases on their smartphones. Hence the 116% jump in mobile sales on smartphones to $11.9 million in April 2014 compared with $5.5 million in April 2013 at 18 major retailer clients in various product categories, including apparel, health and beauty, and home goods.

“Increased comfort means increased orders; mobile commerce is simply exploding,” Mason says. “Part of this is due to technology—we have faster connections, better browsers and better phones--which results in better mobile experiences. Gone are the days of trying to shop on old BlackBerrys without JavaScript, technological limitations that resulted in drab, dumbed-down mobile versions of a retailer's desktop site.”

But there also is a cultural shift driving the growth of m-commerce on smartphones, Mason says.

“For many Americans, smartphones are now the primary way to access the Internet,” he says. “Just like previous e-commerce adoption trends, m-commerce is rapidly becoming a part of our daily lives. Part of this is due to convenience and mobile’s ability to reinvent the way we do things; another reason is because smartphones are the one device we have with us at all times.”

Mason adds that the growing number of retailers optimizing their sites for smartphones is engendering trust among those smartphone users formerly hesitant to complete a transaction on a phone.

“That trust is critical to eliminating safety concerns and increasing orders,” he says. “Branding Brand’s goal has been to avoid the ‘Checkout later on desktop’ mentality among many mobile consumers and make it easier for people to checkout on their phones. We’re spending a lot of time redesigning traditional checkout flows: Reducing required data fields and auto-populating content are doing wonders to improve conversion.”

Also in April 2014 for the 18 retailers, visits on smartphones jumped 84% to 17.8 million from 9.7 million in April 2013, Branding Brand says. And orders on smartphones jumped 96% to 106,163 from 54,066.

In April 2014, smartphones generated 29% of total online visits (63% iPhone, 36% Android, 1% other), up 45% from 20% in April 2013.

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