There's no denying how important mobile devices are to consumers, and whether it is for browsing or buying, these devices are now more lucrative for online retailers than ever before.
Google’s most recent mobile-friendly algorithm (aka Mobilegeddon), has forced all websites, including ecommerce sites, to adapt to make their landing pages more mobile-friendly, and a recent ComScore study of almost 4,000 smartphone users found that 36% of US-based smartphone users now actively use their devices in-store to compare prices.
Europe is quickly catching up with the US, however, and mcommerce is now as much a part of modern-day living as mobile devices are firmly embedded into our lives. Not only are they less than an arm’s reach away in our pockets or bags, but with the proliferation of wearable devices, we are now seeing the stakes raised for retailers with new technology such as iBeacons and in-store targeting.
In our latest mcommerce shopping study for Europe, Twenga examined its own retailer and publisher data, to consider beyond the simple importance of mobile what we currently know about mobile behaviour and how to better target EU consumers. Analysing clicks on smartphones, tablets and desktops for seven different European countries, our research portrays a snapshot of major ecommerce and shopping trends across country, category, and day and even by the hour. Our top line findings included that:
- A quarter of all ecommerce traffic in Europe is now coming from mobile devices.
- The UK leads Europe in mobile shopping at 31.1%, followed by Germany (29.7%), Spain (29.1%), the Netherlands (28.5%), Italy (27.8%), France (22.1%), and Poland (8.3%).
- Spain has the largest percentage of clicks by smartphone users, while the Netherlands has the highest percentage for tablets.
- The visual nature of a product influences the device on which it is searched on. Technical products such as computers or photo equipment are desktop-based, while visual categories such as furniture, jewellery and kids, and baby fashion are on mobile devices.
- As a retailer/shopper platform, Desktops remained the most popular device during the week from our study, while mobile devices were more preferred at the weekend.
Which mobile device is the most popular?
When we began to compare the share of mobile traffic between smartphones and tablets, we were surprised to find that smartphone shopping now dominates in every country where we collect data at an average of 56%, compared to 44% for tablets.
New phone models with larger screen sizes are evidently making it even more convenient for m-shoppers to buy on these devices. This is particularly the case in Spain, where smartphones now represent a staggering 75% of all mobile traffic. This is echoed by findings from Deloitte, which recently found that with 69% of all Spaniards engaged and accessing their devices, with Spain having one of the highest mobile-accessible populations in all of Europe. This is in comparison to 62% for the UK and 59% for the Netherlands.
The only country in our study which went against the smartphone trend is the Netherlands, as the Dutch appear to enjoy tablets most as it represents a whopping 59% of their mobile traffic on tablets, compared to just 41% on smartphones. Our findings suggest that 25% of all ecommerce traffic is on smartphones and tablets in Europe.
Mobile penetration – how is Europe doing vs. the rest of the world?
What do Europeans really shop for when browsing online?
We also took a close look at the top-performing product categories for mobile shopping across all mobile devices and even the top mobile trends at specific times of day.
Here is some of what we found:
- European consumers quite enjoy doing shopping for their kids on smartphones
In fact Kids/Baby clothing and Equipment was a top ecommerce category on this device type across all EU countries we measured. And, whilst Toys & Games appears in the top three for over half of the countries we surveyed, indicating children’s items are a very popular category when shopping via their smartphones. And that on average, it represented 31% of the entire average mobile traffic share we measured across all seven countries.
- Tablet devices are mainly used to shop for household items
Our eccommerce data found that in the top three most searched categories across all countries Furniture remained high for all of the countries in our study, and Homeware appears for five out of seven countries involved, for those accessing it across tablet devices. We can infer from this that European consumers prefer shopping for more visual products that are easier to preview on tablets.
- Desktops are mainly used to compare technical products
This is not especially surprising considering many of us purchase office and personal work equipment and supplies during working hours. However, 72% of desktop traffic we measured was for Computers, Office Supplies and Garden and DIY all appeared in our top three categories for desktops: as keeping open multiple tabs for spotting comparison deals and comparing the latest customer reviews is the likely culprit here.
One other emergent trend we noted in our data for desktops was that online consumers preferred to compare products such as computers, lawnmowers and certain garden tools due to their technical nature and numerous specifications. This may be owing to browsers doing their primary research on desktops usually means keeping several tabs open at any one time, which is more ideally suited to a desktop viewing experience.
All the trends over the last 12 months have pointed towards European consumers becoming more attuned to mobile shopping, and 2016 promises to be no different. Whether on or offline, no retailer can afford to ignore their mobile strategy in the coming year.
Bastien is the CEO and co-founder of Twenga Solutions, a provider of ecommerce advertising solutions