Strong First Half of 2015 for Mobile Commerce

by Jessica Ramesh Awin

Matt Swan, Head of Business Intelligence at Affiliate Window, discusses the findings of the agency’s quarterly mobile update report

Affiliate Window’s mobile data is drawn from over 3.5m network transactions each month across 1,600 advertisers spanning the retail, travel and telecoms sectors. Clients we work with include John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, British Telecom and lastminute.com.

Working with around half the top 100 retail brands in the UK as well as over 1,000 SMEs allows us to build a comprehensive picture of the mobile landscape.

Mobile Growth Continues in Q2

Mobile commerce has experienced a strong first half of the year. Q2 2015 saw the growth of mobile commerce increase further on the impressive start to the year we saw in Q1. Traffic originating from a mobile device increased to 48 per cent which was up from 46.16 per cent the previous quarter. For the first time we saw desktop traffic reduce to under 50 per cent.

We continue to see smartphones dominating mobile traffic with 26.5 per cent of all traffic across the network originating from a smartphone. This is up from 25.19 per cent in the previous quarter and is 9.5 percentage points above what we saw in Q2 the previous year.

Tablet traffic continues to lag behind what we are seeing for smartphone, although this was also up on the previous quarter and stood at 19.22 per cent. Smartphones continue to drive the increase in mobile traffic and, with larger screen devices on the market, the way in which consumers are using smartphones is shifting. Despite an increasing share of consumers browsing on their smartphones, they are not necessarily transacting—evidence that smartphones are primarily a research device.

Switching focus to sales, we saw the share of sales originating from a smartphone increase by 1 percentage point in Q2 to 36.86 per cent. We continue to see weekends peak in terms of traffic and sales but there is still a disconnection in conversion rates between mobile and desktop. The launch of cross device tracking has enabled us to consider smartphones’ role as an influencing device rather than driving conversions.

Although smartphones generate the largest share of traffic, it is still tablets that lead the way in terms of sales. Tablets accounted for almost one in five sales in Q2 while smartphones generated one in six, despite the share of traffic through smartphones being seven percentage points above tablets. Again this is indicative of which stage of the customer journey these devices are being used.

Apple vs. Android

Apple continues its dominance over Android with 76 per cent of traffic and 75.3 per cent of sales through the iPhone vs. 21.5 per cent (traffic) and 23.9 per cent (sales) through Android handsets.

Switching our attention to tablets, Android is the dominant device in terms of traffic with in excess of 50 per cent of tablet traffic through an Android device (52.4 per cent). This is up from 46.26 per cent in Q1 2015. The share of sales through tablets also increased to 27.41 per cent (up from 25.63 per cent) but this is well behind their share of traffic. Despite browsing, Android users are much less likely to convert than their Apple counterparts. With an increasing volume of tablet traffic through Android devices, the overall conversion rate we see through tablet is reducing.

Having seen conversion rates drop in Q1 2015 after a strong Q4 aided by a strong Christmas period, they picked up again in Q2. Mobile conversion rates were up to 3.6 per cent while desktop was up to 5.9 per cent.

We saw a slight decrease in AOV for both tablet (£76.53 to £74.73) and desktop (£88.73 to £86.06) while smartphone saw a slight increase (£51.13 to £53.12).

Cross-device Tracking Fuelling Additional Insights

With the launch of cross device tracking, we are truly starting to understand the role of mobile on customer journeys. While we see a significant volume of traffic through smartphones, the conversion rate (3 per cent) is lagging well behind that of desktop (5.9 per cent) and tablet (4.8 per cent). Previously we hadn’t been able to understand the role of smartphones as an influencing device but this is set to change. Cross device tracking is still very much in its infancy, but as more data is gathered we’ll be pushing out additional mobile insight pieces.