Christmas shopping poised to go mobile, two new studies report

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Christmas shopping goes mobile

Christmas shopping goes mobile

More consumers are poised to do their Christmas shopping via their mobile phones this year, according to two new pieces of research. 

The first, from IBM, claims 15% of people in the UK logging-on to a retailer’s web site are expected to do so through a mobile device. It reports UK online shopping sales in November 2011 are expected to grow by as much as 10% versus November 2010, with the growing influence of mobile devices such as iPads and iPhones being among the key factors in this increase.

Another study, by internet security provider Webroot, claims over two times more shoppers plan to purchase gifts and 50% more plan to book travel using their mobile devices this year.

The IBM study is based on data from its Coremetrics Benchmark, which gathers information from the web sites of more than 150 leading UK retailers. Using analytics technology, Benchmark measures real-time sales data and online marketing results to uncover shopping trends across a wide variety of channels including social media, mobile devices and other online sources where consumers interact with their brands, said IBM.

Based on its findings, IBM is making the following 2011 online retail predictions for the November pre-Christmas season:

  • Online shopping growth: total online sales in November 2011 will experience growth of 10% over the same period in 2010
  • Mobile traffic and sales: record numbers of consumers will shift their shopping from the PC to their mobile device this Christmas season. In October 2011, 12% of people used a mobile device to log onto a retailer’s site, up from 3.7% in October 2010. Additionally, mobile sales continue to increase, reaching a high of 11% of all online sales in October 2011, up from 3.1% in October 2010
  • iiPhone & Android: In the UK, iPhone dominates the mobile phone market with nearly double the amount of traffic as compared to Android users. Numbers show iPhone accounting for 5.5% of mobile traffic and Android 2.4% in October 2011. In the US, however, traffic is more evenly distributed between both types of smartphone
  • The iPad factor: shopping on the iPad will lead to more retail purchases than other mobile devices. This trend is based on October 2011 figures where iPad conversion rates reached 5.5% as compared to the overall mobile device conversion rate of 3.5%
  • Surgical shopping goes mobile: mobile shoppers will display a laser focus on buying this season that surpasses that of other online shoppers with a 37.9% bounce rate on mobile devices versus online shopping bounce rates of 33.3% in October 2011         
  • The social influence: while the industry will see modest increases in direct social buying, the influence of these sites and services will eclipse that of other channels. According to October 2011 conversion rates, 7.6% of consumers that visited a retail site from a social media site made a purchase. This compares to a 4.7% conversion rate for shopping by all online means in October 2011. Also in 2011, the vast majority of online social shopping will continue to come from Facebook, which in October 2011 accounted for nearly 90% of all site traffic from social networks

“This Christmas shoppers are moving beyond the PC and on to the mobile, showing retailers must pay close attention to this important new shopping channel,” said Andrew Jackson-Proes, enterprise marketing management (EMM) leader for UK & Ireland, IBM. 

“Retailers must invest in highly personalised, customer-loyalty building systems that catch the attention of price and promotions-sensitive customers at exactly the right moment and on the right channel. IBM has developed Smarter Commerce to help retailers to address the needs of this market.”

Webroot assessed people’s preferences for using mobile devices versus traditional means for researching and buying Christmas gifts, and for planning and booking trips. In addition, the company explored how people secure their mobile devices.

Webroot found 50% are likely to purchase Christmas gifts using their smartphone or tablet this year – up from 22% in 2010. Additionally, one third (33%) of respondents plan to use their mobile devices to book travel, up from 22% in 2010. But only 40% of respondents have a security app installed to block threats or remotely lock and locate a lost device, and 53% leave their devices unlocked – potentially exposing personal information to prying eyes.