Real Evidence on The Growth of Mobile Traffic
Our evidence below, which has been taken and collated across 6 industries we operate in, shows that if you are neglecting the mobile side of your eCommerce store, then you are losing significant amounts of revenue opportunity.
Looking at the figures for browsing across all of the clients within this study, we can see mobile taking an average of 49.50% – that’s nearly half of all online traffic, and if you apply those figures to your revenue, mobile traffic potentially accounts for half of your profits.
Desktop is falling behind, with an average of 32.10% – a significant drop considering desktop’s original position as the primary source of all online browsing before the introduction of smart phones. And tablet, despite being an amalgamation of the two, still trails in third place with an average of 17.30%.
This information follows a pattern we are seeing across the global market; figures in 2018 that show 52.2 percent of all worldwide website traffic comes through mobile phones, up from 50.3 percent in the previous year, you can see why there is such a push for mobile-ready websites.
In today’s modern world, 80% of all internet users now own a smartphone, and 79% of those people use their device for reading email, which puts that above using their smartphone for making calls!
For eCommerce, mobile browsing is a huge market of potential customers and they need to be on the ball when it comes to designing their websites.
Around 57% of customers say they won’t recommend a business if it has a poor mobile website, with 61% unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble using.
In fact, the average smartphone conversion rates are up 64% when compared to the average desktop conversion rates.
The Evidence: Taken from 6 Industries looking at 12 Clients
In the marketing side of our business, we’re managing just over 25 digital strategies and we’ve randomly picked 12 to analyse to get an insight in how mobile traffic is evolving on a broader perspective.
Below you’ll see each industry, which may use data from one, two or three clients to give a cross-section view of the browsing habits of online shoppers.
Groundworks & Construction Industry
While bricks-and-mortar industries like these might not seem like the ideal place for eCommerce, the figures tell a different story.
In the last year, this industry has seen incredible growth in the mobile browsing market, which shows that more and more people are turning to shopping on the go for larger, more bespoke items.
We’ve complied a year of stats and figures across the groundworks industries (construction, supply, building, etc…) and have discovered the following;
From what we can see in the image above, in 2017, 30 days of mobile traffic accounted for just over 22% of overall traffic, while desktop held over 61%
However, for the same time period in 2018, desktop traffic had fallen to 38.54%, and mobile had taken the lion’s share at 43.30%
The groundwork industry is modernising and becoming more digital, and the growth for the handheld devices clearly shows a preference for browsing on the move, which makes sense if you are a supplier or fitter out on the road.
Over the last 5 years, businesses that were traditionally paper-based; construction, manufacturing, engineering and logistics, are moving towards more modern systems of project management. A second client from the same industry shows a similar pattern of mobile growth;
These types of businesses and corporations are often large-scale, nationwide services that need to be out and about working at customer locations. You can’t always be at your desktop computer when it comes to sourcing what you need, and so browsing on mobile or tablet becomes a necessity.
Industry Example: Fashion & Accessories
The fashion industry is a rapidly changing landscape, and it is easily one of the most forward-thinking industries when it comes to mobile browsing.
As most of their sales are geared towards ‘want it, buy it!’ fashion websites have to be both quick to update and capable of being responsive if they want to stay on top.
That being said, even this fast-paced sector has seen growth to its mobile market;
Taking the first 3 months of 2018 and comparing them to the same period in 2017, we can still see an improvement in mobile over desktop.
Mobile has seen a growth from 45.18% up to 49.60%, while desktop has seen an almost identical decline, from 37.37% down to 35.32%
When you take this back even further and look at the stats from 2012, you can really see the impact that mobile browsing has had, especially in industries such as fashion, that are naturally geared towards it;
Here you can now see an increase in mobile traffic from just 11.05% up to 49.50% in just 6 years. And desktop now has to share its smaller share of 35.32% with an increase of traffic from tablet browsing as well.
Accessories are a subset of fashion but also an industry in its own right. With a wide range of products, accessories can range from scarves and hats, to phone cases and sunglasses. These are quick-browse, quick-sell products that customers don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for, and that makes them ideal for mobile browsing.
Just looking at a single month in 2018 for an accessories retailer shows clearly the popularity of mobile browsing over desktop and tablet, with mobile taking just under 80% of the overall traffic.
A similar business within the industry that has been running for several years now once again highlights the impressive growth mobile traffic has seen, just in the past year.
From January 2017, mobile traffic has grown from just over 38% up to taking more than half of all traffic to the website. As more people shop on the go for quick-buy items, such as accessories, desktop browsing has fallen in the same period by around 22%. Buying that designer pair of sunglasses on the go is a priority for many shoppers and if eCommerce websites want to keep up, they must adapt to meet their customer expectations.
Industry Example: Pet Care
Pet and animal care is one of those industries that will never fade as long as we love our furry and feathered friends. Moving out of bricks-and-mortar high street pet shops, the pet care industry is now a global market, offering products for nutrition, grooming, health, well-being, entertainment and even the mental health for our pets.
As shopping habits have changed and more users head online for their pet care supplies, so to have the devices that people use to shop.
In the last year, pet care industries have seen a rise from 30.18% of traffic, up to 45.13%, while desktop slips down from 46.25% to 32.14%. Tablet, as always, hovers around the same position, as most users are either at home and prefer desktop, or on the move and are using their mobile devices.
When looking over a full year of organic traffic, the preference for mobile browsing is evident:
If you know that over 60% of your traffic is going to come from mobile over the next year, why wouldn’t you take steps to make sure that user experience is the best it can possibly be? In this case, that’s 26,584 potential customers coming to your website via their phones and 26,584 potential sales – it’s a no brainer.
Industry Example: Travel & Leisure
The holiday industry used to see more peaks and falls than most other sectors, due to the nature of its services and the fact that summer was the only time many people could get away. However, in recent years, there was the introduction of flexible working time, but this has remained fairly constant over the last few years. So the question now is, have the browsing habits of shoppers changed to match?
As the image above shows, the answer is yes, and it has changed in mobile’s favour.
In the last year, mobile browsing took 43.08% of the total traffic, which is up from 2016’s chunk of 35.24%. Although desktop has also seen some growth, it cannot complete with the number of mobile browsers choosing to search for their next holiday on the go.
That being said, there is still advantages of desktop browsing, especially within an industry such as travel, as this is still where most visitors choose to go through with their purchase.
Despite mobile taking the lion’s share of traffic, desktop is still the highest channel for revenue. This is due to shoppers preferring to browse and ‘window shop’ on their mobiles, but feel more secure making the final purchase on a desktop. This is often due to the relative ease of filling out the forms required using a keyboard and mouse, over a mobile keypad.
Industry Example: Sports
For anyone who takes their sports seriously, you know it is vital you have the right equipment from the start. Cyclists, runners, surfers – all of these require specialist kit if you really want to push yourself to the limits.
This dedication getting precisely the right equipment for the job may be why the sports sector bucks the trend for mobile browsing. Here you can clearly see desktop taking the majority of traffic away from mobile, with 58.15% compared to 27.95%
This pattern is also reflected in the revenue figures for the client, with desktop taking the biggest slice of the pie over mobile and tablet. For larger, more specialist purchases, desktop is still the preferred choice.
This particular retailer deals with high-end equipment, specially designed for dedicated athletes, so the desire to read more and see more on each product page is likely what drives users to visit via their desktop rather than mobile.
Industry Example: Home & Garden
Another example of large and specialist purchases is garden equipment. Items like lawnmowers, strimmers, chainsaws, etc… are typically high price and highly specialised, so how does the traffic compare to that of our cycling clients?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, this example is similar to the cycling client in that desktop takes the lead in browsing traffic, with 43% of the traffic over mobiles 33%. And the similarities don’t stop there:
Like our cycling client, this garden supplies business is showing an increase in revenue for desktop over mobile, indicating a similar shopping habit; preferring to browse and buy via desktop for higher value, specialist purchases.
From the data laid out above, it’s easy to see that if you are operating in low to mid-price products with a short buying cycles, mobile is your friend. If you are not making the most of mobile-friendly practices for your business, you are potentially missing out on converting half of the visitors to your eCommerce shop.
For those with high price, specialist products, such as sports or garden equipment, your focus should still be on desktop, but don’t think you can ignore mobile completely. It still accounts for around 30% of your traffic.
There are few businesses left these days that don’t have an online presence in one form or another. This is the way modern economy works and those that do not catch up with the changing times are doomed to fall behind.
What our figures show is that those businesses that do embrace the mobile world and put the time and effort into understanding what their customers on the go really want, the results can be very rewarding.