KEY POINTS

  • E-commerce and m-commerce are on the rise. In 2014, mobile comprised 11.6% of the US' $303 billion in e-commerce sales. BI Intelligence forecasts that by 2020, mobile will account for 45% of the $632 billion in total e-commerce sales. 
  • Mobile is becoming users' primary computing tool, but not their primary purchasing tool. On average, US adults spend most of their screen time on mobile devices, but most of their dollars on desktop and other channels. That's because the mobile purchasing experience is filled with friction, thanks to small screens and slower connections. On average, users purchase just 1.3% of products they add to their carts on a mobile device, compared to 3.7% on PCs. 
  • Stakeholders are attempting to capitalize on the amount of time users are spending on mobile by introducing better mobile buying platforms. These tools range from one-click options to financing incentives, and also include cross-platform buying experiences and native, in-app, or in-network purchasing. By making mobile buying easier, the money consumers spend on mobile could become more proportional to the time they spend.
  • Users are spending the majority of their commerce-related browsing time in browsers rather than apps. This is a stark difference from all other smartphone activities, where apps reign supreme. In order to increase m-commerce conversion rates, retailers should be focused on browser-based solutions, which attract a wider audience than the loyal shoppers who download apps. 
  • If they move into the browser, mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Android Pay could drive an increase in m-commerce. That's because they provide a more streamlined experience to users than any of the other proposed solutions. However, it'll be hard for them to catch on fully if they remain focused solely on apps and in-store payments. 

Introduction

Consumers are doing more of their spending online. As mobile devices increasingly become the predominant computing device for US consumers, they'll begin to comprise a larger share of total e-commerce sales.

However, as it stands, users face substantial barriers to purchasing on mobile. Because of small screens, slower connections, and the inability to switch between windows seamlessly, users are browsing on mobile and then opting to purchase either in-store, on the desktop, or not at all.

That effect is compounded by retailers that lack mobile-optimized sites, as mobile conversion rates are considerably higher when retailers offer a [...]