KEY POINTS

  • Mobile spending will account for nearly $30 billion, or 11.4% of this year's U.S. e-commerce spending. That's growth of 37% over 2012 mobile commerce.
  • For Web retailers that have pursued a mobile-first strategy, that share will be considerably higher. Flash-sale, online-only retailer Rue-La-La says mobile now accounts for 40% of sales and will reach 60% next year.
  • Mobile is not only about how consumers buy things, but how they browse and research products. In terms of time-spend, we've already reached the mobile retail tipping point: Mobile now accounts for over half of time spent on Internet shopping, according to comScore.
  • But mobile on its own is no longer a useful category.Shoppers use tablets and smartphones for dramatically different purposes — smartphones tend to be used in the middle of the shopping process, while tablets are used both at the beginning for high-level research and at the end to finalize purchases.
  • Although there are far fewer tablets in circulation than smartphones, tablets' higher conversion rates and average order values mean they are driving just as much commerce as smartphones in the U.S., according to BII estimates.
  • But retailers aren't ready for the surge in tablet commerce. Most of their tablet sites and landing pages are sub-standard, and consumers report being dissatisfied with their tablet shopping experiences.
  • In spite of these shortcomings, tablet-focused advertising shows promise. Display and search ad budgets in the U.S. are being allocated about equally to smartphones and tablets, and audiences are surprisingly receptive to interactive tablet ads.

SUMMARY

US E CommerceBIIThis year, shopping on mobile will start to make a much more significant dent in the e-commerce total. Despite a couple of up and down quarters earlier in the year, mobile commerce for the full year 2013 will account for a higher share of e-commerce sales than ever before.

Mobile's importance extends beyond direct sales, as tablets and smartphones become the go-to devices for window shopping, price comparisons, and overall research.

In short, the PC is being eclipsed as a shopping tool. In [...]