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Shoppers Embrace M-Commerce

80% of U.S. smartphone users shopped on their device in July.

If you needed more proof that mobile commerce, or m-commerce, would ever have a significant impact on the world of e-commerce, here’s a bombshell: Four out of five smartphone users in the U.S. visited a retail site on their device in July.

That’s 80 percent of adults with a mobile phone that used the device to shop, according to results of a study released today by comScore.

Mobile shopping wasn’t limited to large retailers, the study shows. eBay saw 30 percent of the 85.9 million m-commerce visitors, while Etsy—which just introduced a mobile app this year—saw 3 percent. Amazon had the biggest mobile reach, with 46.6 percent.

The comScore study didn’t measure how many mobile visitors made a purchase using their devices. But it’s clear that consumers have embraced m-commerce, and that online merchants should as well.

“With nearly 86 million Americans now shopping on their smartphones, this pronounced shift in consumer behavior is simply too large for retailers to ignore, with the future of their business depending on how well they adapt to the new environment,” says Mark Donovan, comScore’s senior vice president of mobile.

comScore M-Commerce Reach Study

M-commerce behavior varies

Donovan acknowledges that not all merchants have the means to optimize their sites or create apps for the various types of mobile traffic. However, those who understand how their customers want to shop, and are responsive to that, are best positioned to benefit from the “shifting market dynamics,” he adds.

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According to comScore, m-commerce preferences varied depending on a number of factors, including the site visited, mobile platform, gender, age and household income.

For example, men comprised a greater share of mobile shoppers (51 percent of unique visitors), but women who shopped via smartphone spent more time shopping (56.1 percent of total retail minutes). Additionally, consumers ages 25 to 34 made up the largest share of mobile shoppers (33.6 percent), followed by those 35 to 44 years of age.

Consumers who make $60,000 per year or more were more likely to engage in m-commerce than shop using a computer, and also spent more time shopping on their mobile device.

For a more detailed breakdown of m-commerce demographics, read comScore’s news release.

Optimizing for m-commerce

Leading marketplaces like eBay, Etsy and Bonanza offer mobile apps, or at least have optimized their sites for mobile visitors. Marketplace sellers can benefit from this, but there’s more you can do to prepare your product listings for m-commerce.

  • Optimize titles—Make sure your best keywords are in the listing title, and try to put them at the beginning to ensure they are visible in a mobile search.
  • Declutter descriptions—Keep product descriptions brief and to the point. Spell out product details in a bullet list, rather than a dense block of text.
  • Use clear images—Take care to shoot crisp and clear photos of your items.

Read more about how to make your site or listings mobile friendly.

About the author

Crista Souza
Crista Souza is founding editor of A journalism graduate of San Jose State University, she spent 13 years as a business and technology reporter in Silicon Valley. Crista has been writing about B2C and C2C ecommerce since 2008. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

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