July 10, 2014, 1:04 PM

Sales on smartphones jump from 5% to 10% of web sales in 12 months

Smartphones have the potential to become the highest-converting devices over time, the CEO of m-commerce platform provider Branding Brand says.

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In June 2014, sales on smartphones accounted for more than 10% of total web sales of $152 million at 26 retailer clients of mobile commerce technology provider Branding Brand, the vendor reports. That’s up from 5% of total web sales in June 2013.

Smartphone conversion for the retailers jumped from 0.74% in June 2013 to 0.86% in June 2014, still very low compared with desktops (3.06%) and tablets (2.18%). But retailers should not make any hasty judgments about commerce on smartphones, says Chris Mason, CEO and co-founder of Branding Brand.

“Although smartphones might be the lowest-converting devices at the moment, they have the potential to be the highest over time, due to the unique ways in which people interact with them,” Mason says. “The fact that smartphones are always with us makes them the natural channel of preference, if the convenience is there.”

Conversion on smartphones is steadily increasing, and smartphones’ piece of the retail pie is growing, Mason says. Sales on smartphones will continue to grow as more retailers enable customers to buy items in-store using their phones (as is the case at Starbucks) and embrace elements of Apple iOS 8 (including one-touch log-in and checkout via fingerprint scanning), he adds.

But it’s important to remember that in m-commerce, smartphones are by no means just for buying goods, Mason adds.

“People use their smartphones for research, and use them to engage with brands in ways that other devices don’t permit, such as when standing in line or waiting in the car, or killing time in places with no Wi-Fi,” he says. “All of these activities affect conversion rates, for better or worse.”

Following are mobile commerce metrics, June 2013 data and June 2014 data, according to Branding Brand’s study of the 26 retailers:

  • Smartphone visits, 12.5 million, 19.7 million.
  • Smartphone orders, 92,255, 170,055.
  • Smartphone revenue, $7.4 million, $15.6 million.
  • Tablet visits, 6.9 million, 8.5 million.
  • Tablet orders, 152,294, 185,083.
  • Tablet revenue, $19.5 million, $22.2 million.

In June 2014, smartphones generated 34.4% of total online visits (61.9% Apple iOS, 37.3% Android, 0.8% other), an increase from 24.0% in June 2013, Branding Brand reports. Tablet market share of visits increased from 13.3% in June 2013 to 14.8% in June 2014. In contrast, the share of desktop/laptop visits dropped from 62.7% in June 2013 to 50.8% in June 2014.

Our June 2014 report marks the sixth consecutive month this year where our actual data undoubtedly quantifies a retail mobile mind-shift,” Mason says. “It’s consumers themselves who are rapidly speeding the pace of m-commerce. With the seamless integration of smartphones and tablets into our daily lives, buyers have come to expect mobile-optimized shopping experiences that are streamlined, quick and convenient.”

Follow Bill Siwicki, managing editor, mobile commerce, at Internet Retailer, at @IRmcommerce.

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