The U.S. online shopping world's biggest day is here, but will strong web sales on Black Friday and Thanksgiving cut into Cyber Monday's take?
Consumers are dipping their toes in the m-commerce waters.
According a recent Adobe Scene7 poll, mobile commerce is on the rise. However, a closer look shows consumers still favor safe, low-cost items when shopping via their smartphones.
The poll of consumers with web-connected mobile devices, primarily smartphones, finds 62% are buying via their devices. The poll weeds out digital goods such as ringtones, wallpapers, etc., to only include physical goods. So, we’re not dealing with 99-cent Angry Birds games here. But a closer look finds m-commerce still has a long way to go before it catches up with big brother e-commerce.
The greatest segment of mobile shoppers, 45%, spent $249 or less via mobile during the last 12 months, the report says. By comparison, the average annual online spend per shopper in 2010 was $1,139, according to an estimate from research firm eMarketer.
Next, let’s look at what they buy. The most purchased consumer goods category is shrink-wrapped entertainment, including movies, music and games, purchased by 43% of the respondents who shopped on mobile devices. The next largest category is a smaller portion, 30%, for clothing, shoes and jewelry. And it’s just a hunch, but I’m betting smitten males aren’t buying an engagement ring via a smartphone just yet.
To me theses figures show hope, but also illustrate m-commerce still has a long way to go—which also means it has a lot of potential. I remember the day when consumers scoffed at the idea of buying big-ticket and visual-centric items via their PCs. My how that has changed. A good friend of mine got engaged a few weeks ago. Where did her fiancé buy the ring? BlueNile.com.
For now, mobile is a lot like the beginnings of e-commerce. People are dipping their toes in the water, but for big-ticket items, the water may still be a bit too cool. However, basic concerns, such as inputting credit card data via a mobile device or wondering if an order will go through, are not as major as when the concept of shopping from a phone was brand new. Part of that is because consumers are so used to buying digitally via their PCs.
Smartphone owners are becoming fairly comfortable buying items that are content-based rather than appearance-based—a DVD they heard was great, a book a friend recommended, etc. But they are still shying away from the biggies.
So what will it take for M to catch up with E? Part of it will simply be a matter of giving consumers time—and there’s not a whole lot a retailer can do about that. In the meantime, retailers should focus on making it easy to shop from a mobile device. Quick checkout, alternate images, and ratings and reviews can’t hurt. After all, it’s those very features that helped move more shoppers to buy online when a computer was the only option.