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Mobile Shoppers Changing Face of Retail

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The army of more than 90-million smartphone users and 24-million tablet users in the United States is beginning to change the face of retailing. In the last eight months, the share of U.S. online-sales dollars attributable to mobile devices more than doubled, a new study shows.

Sales made through mobile devices now account for just over 3 percent of total sales, according to an analysis of 3.4-billion shopping sessions conducted by RichRelevance, a company that personalizes websites for retailers.

The number of shoppers browsing has also doubled in the last eight months, the data showed. Nearly 20 percent of all consumers now use mobile devices to shop.

In general, weekends and holidays are primetime for mobile shopping: For the six-week period from Nov.  1 to Dec. 18, 14 percent of shoppers, on average, were on mobile devices. On weekends over this period it jumped up a notch: On both Saturday and Sunday, 17 percent of the browsers were on mobile devices, the study showed.

Apple mobile devices account for the bulk of all online nondesktop sales (92 percent) and also have a larger average order value (AOV) than other platforms ($123 for Apple versus $101 for Android) and far outstrip desktop orders ($87).

"The numbers across our retailing partners' sites demonstrate just how powerful the iOS platform is, enabling mobile web shopping . And, while still below 5 percent in total conversion, mobile traffic's doubling in eight months is a trend we only see accelerating," said David Selinger, CEO of RichRelevance. "In order to succeed in this dynamic market, retailers and brands must ensure they are addressing relevance throughout the channels where people are shopping, ensuring a seamless experience across the interplay of device, context and consumer behavior."

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and held a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.