European retailers need to address the widening behavioural gap between shoppers’ mobile browsing and purchasing habits if they are to maintain consumer spending levels long term.
That’s the key message from the Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) "Mobile Benchmark" study just released. Taking a deep dive into device performance, ADI found that smartphones are well on track to become the primary way Europeans access the internet.
While overall internet traffic is flat at just 3%, smartphone traffic has increased by 54% over the year, taking share from desktops and tablets that fell by 7% and 8%, respectively. In terms of revenue growth, the average European website is performing well despite flat traffic, with an average rise of 13% over the last year. Unsurprisingly, smartphones are the main driver of growth, with device revenues surging 89%. Despite the declines in traffic, desktop revenue increased by 8% and tablet revenue was up by 10%.
Although the use of smartphones to visit retail websites is growing in Europe, this is yet to translate into an equal share of revenue. Smartphones account for 27% of traffic but a disproportionately small share (12%) of total revenue.
Desktop, on the other hand, is more efficient at driving revenue, representing 58% of traffic on average but a larger 74% of revenue. This is an indication that online shoppers continue to turn back to desktops to complete transactions after browsing on mobile.
For those smartphone shoppers who do convert, there is still some reticence when it comes to spending big. ADI research found that average order values (AOV) in Europe are 20% below those on a desktop.
Failure to address this gap could have a major long-term impact on retail revenues, especially as smartphones become the primary driver of traffic.
“We’ve always known that retailers need to optimise the mobile experience to drive up conversion rates, but this adds another layer of complexity because smartphone users just aren’t spending as much,” said Becky Tasker, managing analyst at ADI.
She suggests there could be inherent differences in purchasing behaviours, with smartphone users making one-off purchases, while desktop users are encouraged by the wider range of options available to add more to their cart.
“There’s a behavioural gap that needs to be addressed by marketers in order to determine how they can bump up the smartphone average order value to be more equivalent to desktop,” she added.
If retailers are unable to close this gap, they run the risk of a reduction in consumer spend, as smartphone traffic increases yet smartphone users convert less and spend less per order. “Retailers will still make money, just not as much, unless they address this behaviour,” said Tasker.
ADI’s Best of the Best EMEA survey of 4,000 consumers found they switch to desktops for ease of navigation (28%), seeing images on a bigger screen (23%), to enter payment information (17%), and because of worries around entering payment information onto a mobile device (15%)
While there is little that retailers can do to address the limitations of screen size, mobile optimisation offers opportunities to improve the experience for mobile shoppers. Equally, retail marketers can tackle concerns around security and reassure consumers.
Looking at the reasons why users failed to complete a purchase when browsing on mobile, ADI research showed slowness (49%), small screen (45%), poor navigation (39%), and the layout of websites (38%) among the top frustrations.
View the full report below, or click here to see it on SlideShare.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
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