The State of Mobile Commerce 2019

Blog | 6 mins

At Bread, more than half (54%) of our users apply for financing from a mobile device. Why is this significant? It means that a majority of customers are not just checking out over mobile, but considering and applying for financing from their mobile device as well. This speaks to just how far mobile commerce and payments have advanced in just a handful of years, and this rapid evolution has a direct effect on ecommerce at any business.

To examine just how much mobile adoption is having an impact on buying behavior, we’ve taken a look at reports across industries to create an overview of the current state of mobile commerce.

According to App Annie’s own The State of Mobile 2019, mobile will make up nearly three quarters of all global ecommerce transactions by 2021. November of 2018 was also the largest shopping month on mobile of all time, based on total elapsed time spent on-site. Their research shows that mobile sessions have grown by 70% in the U.S. from November 2016—and it looks like that shift is only going to gain momentum.

Bread’s own research found that on Black Friday, 64.5% of consumers prequalify for financing on mobile, with 47.6% of total revenue coming from mobile.

What’s driving this growth? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest trends pushing mcommerce to the forefront:

Showrooming and Webrooming

You’ve probably been a showroomer and a webroomer without even realizing. Showrooming is the act of checking out an item in-store, then buying it online instead. Webrooming is the reverse—browsing online, only to buy in-store. It’s a common part of our more-connected shopping environment, and a major factor for mobile adoption.

According to the Global Omnichannel Commerce Trends report, two thirds of global shoppers research products online before they purchase at a brick and mortar location. It’s easy to research and compare products on the web, but if you’re near a store, want to try before you buy, or don’t want to wait or pay for shipping, stopping by in-person is a great solution. The same report found that more than half of all smartphone users search for product info on their devices to compare pricing while shopping in-store. When you can get the same product or something similar online for less, it seems crazy not to browse when the answer is just a few taps away—which explains why 86.3% of shoppers do just that, according to iVend Retail’s 2019 Global Shopper Trend report.

BOPIS and BORIS

These two acronyms stand for Buy Online Pickup In Store and Buy Online Return In Store—two increasingly common amenities offered by modern omnichannel retailers.

iVend Retail found that BOPIS is on the rise in a big way, with a 30% increase in shoppers using this feature, for a total of 81.4% of respondents clicking and collecting. Shoppers’ top reasons for buying online and picking up in store are pretty intuitive, with 47.4% saying they chose to pursue this method to save money on shipping, 44.4% to save time, and 38.9% to get their hands on an item right away.

With 56.7% of consumers saying that free or easy returns were what they valued most from a retailer, Buy Online Return In Store (BORIS) is an inevitable evolution of this trend. Narvar even found that 96% of customers would shop with a retailer again based on an easy return experience. 85% of shoppers surveyed by Doddle said they have made additional in-store purchases while visiting stores to pick up what they already had bought online, with 15% saying they engage in the practice somewhat frequently.

Connected Commerce

As mobile use rises, so too does the appetite for more mobile-connected omnichannel experiences. Increasingly, retailers need to think about not just how to deliver a great shopping experience for customers using mobile devices from home or on the go, but also how to deliver a great shopping experience for customers on mobile devices while they’re in stores.

The innovative, low friction, and high-touch experience of shopping at an Apple Store, with its many iPad-toting employees, seems to have influenced customers’ preferences. That’s because 83.8% want store associates to use handheld mobile devices for customer service. It’s an easy addition that can add a lot of functionality. With tablets or other devices on hand, it’s no problem for associates to check stock availability and prices, see customers’ previous order histories, and help them complete their purchase from anywhere in the store—no more waiting in line at a single checkout location. And this experience is becoming more commonplace, with brands like Nike, Buck Mason, Allbirds, and more using it in retail stores of their own.

70% of shoppers say that offers delivered to their mobile devices (via text, email, or in-app notifications) can influence their purchasing decisions if they’re inside or nearby a store. The right message at the right time can make all the difference in the world. Advances in near-field communication, sensor technology, and facial recognition make it increasingly easy to be timely and personal when customers are on-site. For example, Farfetch’s Store of the Future uses a combination of RFID and the phone’s radio frequency to detect when a customer takes an item off of the rail it’s hanging on and automatically adds it to their digital wish list. They can then pay anywhere on the shopping floor, and can even keep in touch with whoever assisted them with their purchase over Farfetch’s mobile app. These innovations help facilitate strong customer engagement while allowing for a faster, easier, and more connected shopping experience.

Mobile Tech Evolution

Mobile tech feels like it’s evolving at an even faster pace than desktop computers and laptops. When Google launched “AMP”, or “Accelerated Mobile Pages”, they showed just how fast-loading, mobile first experiences could win over customers. Google AMP pages load in less than a second and use 10 times less data, and Google rewards this functionality by giving AMP pages higher priority when searching on mobile. Today, over one and a half billion AMP pages have been published by 25 million domains, showing how mobile-optimized technologies can have a wide-reaching effect and drive change across industries.

The future of mobile technology may be here sooner than you expect with the oncoming rollout of 5G. The next generation of wireless transmission will launch later this year. Over 20 wireless carriers will begin launching 5G services in 2019, including every major carrier in the US. This new technology will make streaming video and large datasets to phones, tablets, and even smart TVs extremely fast. That means it will be easier to serve customers with more robust and rich digital content, no matter which device they’re using. Whether that’s more complex targeted ads and shopping experiences, or smarter integrations with personal assistants and self-driving cars, 5G expands the horizon for mobile commerce’s capabilities. Even more sci-fi sounding options like augmented reality and holograms are now on the table.

What’s the Future of Mobile Commerce?

As the number of mobile users continues to grow, so too does overall ecommerce spending.

It’s predicted that there will be 3.8 billion smartphone users by 2021, with the average user spending 87 hours a month on their phone versus 34 hours per month on desktop. Today 34% of ecommerce purchases are made on mobile, with that number predicted to rise to 54% by 2021.

The proliferation of mobile connectivity is changing how we live, starting with how we buy. Within the next decade, we may not even distinguish between mobile commerce and ecommerce—they’ll just be interchangeable with commerce itself. Brands that strive to take advantage of the shifting tides in mobile commerce to deliver a better experience will be rewarded with loyal customers and increased sales. If you’re prioritizing mobile commerce, you’re preparing yourself for the future—make sure your brand doesn’t miss the call.