November 7, 2013, 12:06 PM

Yes, mobile shoppers convert at a higher rate than desktop shoppers

And mobile's share of web sales is up 103% on U.S. and U.K. affiliate networks.

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Believe it or not, mobile shoppers on the U.S. and U.K. affiliate networks of Affiliate Window  converted to buyers at a rate of 3.68% in October, while desktop shoppers converted at 3.48%, the company reports. The secret to mobile's success? Tablets. Tablet shoppers in October converted at 5.03%, smartphone shoppers 2.45% and desktop shoppers 3.48%.

Mobile devices last month accounted for 22.7% of sales on the networks, desktops 77.3%, says Affiliate Window, whose U.S. and U.K. networks combined include more than 10,000 affiliate web sites. Mobile commerce’s share has doubled since October 2012, when it was 11.2% compared with desktop's 88.8%.

Tablets dominate mobile sales on the networks. Last month, tablets accounted for 14.6% of total sales, smartphones 7.9% and desktops 77.5%, the networks report. The iPad racks up a commanding 87.4% of tablet sales while Android tablets account for 12.6%. Sales on smartphones also were dominated by Apple Inc.'s mobile hardware: iPhone, 68.1%; Android, 24.9%; BlackBerry, 3.2%; Symbian, 2.2%; and Windows, 1.6%.

Summing up the Apple versus Android battle, Apple iPads and iPhones accounted for 18.2% of total October sales on the affiliate networks, while Android tablets and smartphones accounted for only 3.8%. That provides more evidence that shoppers on Apple mobile devices are far more valuable than shoppers on Android devices. Shoppers on iPads converted at 5.54% while shoppers on Android tablets converted at 3.07%. Interestingly, shoppers on iPhone, Android and BlackBerry smartphones all converted at the exact same rate, 2.43%.

As tablets dominate mobile sales and iPads dominate Android tablets in both sales and conversion, retailers would do well to ensure their web sites are optimized for viewing and shopping on iPads, mobile experts say.

"IPad conversion rates are far superior to those of Android tablets," Affiliate Window says. "Android tablets are becoming increasingly popular in terms of people browsing the Internet, yet these people are less inclined to purchase. The demographics of each device are likely to have a bearing on the propensity to purchase as well as how much device users spend."

In October, 21.7% of traffic on the affiliate networks stemmed from a mobile device, 78.3% from desktops, Affiliate Window reports. That compares with 13.8% mobile and 86.2% desktop in October 2012.

Unlike with sales, smartphone and tablet traffic on the affiliate networks in October 2013 were quite similar. Tablets accounted for 11.3% of total traffic, smartphones 10.2% and desktops 78.5%, Affiliate Window says.

As expected, iPads ruled tablet traffic with a 79.3% share. Android tablets accounted for 20.7% of tablet traffic. Kindle Fire tablet traffic share peaked at 4.0% in February 2013 and has since faded away entirely, the networks report. While Kindle Fire tablets run Android, Affiliate Window breaks them out separately.

Also no surprise, iPhones ruled smartphone traffic last month. The Apple smartphones accounted for 68.1% of phone traffic, Android 25.0%, BlackBerry 3.2%, Symbian 2.7% and Windows 1.0%.

On average, 55% of mobile commerce sales occur on tablets while 45% stem from smartphones, according to data from 43 retailers that broke out their mobile sales figures by device for the new 2014 Internet Retailer Mobile 500. These 43 retailers will bring in $991 million in mobile sales in 2013—$544 million from tablets and $447 million from smartphones, the Mobile 500 finds. The 500 retailers ranked in the guide by their mobile sales will rack up $30.5 billion in mobile sales in 2013.

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