Surging Mobile Use, Worth $20.7B last year + Doubling Tablet Use = Retailers’ Holiday Challenge & Bonanza

Consumers spent more than $20.7 billion shopping last year using mobile devices: $5 billion of those purchases were made on tablets; consumers using tablets for purchases spent an average of $10 more per purchase; and the number of people owning tablets is expected to double within the next three years. Get the picture? With mobile apps engulfing retail shopping, retailers had better know about and prepare for mobile shopping from here on in. And don't neglect pricing intelligence and product assortment solutions, either, as they are the key to knowing what to carry and how to price for profit and success.

A recent Javelin Strategy & Research Report on What Retailers Better Know About Tablet Users discusses how consumers use mobile devices and channels to make mobile purchases, and recommends how merchants and vendors can adjust their mobile commerce strategies for the growing number of tablet users. 

Here's a chart and some other highlights about Smartphone and Tablet App Users, from recent Forrester, Comscore, and Javelin Strategy & Research: 

* Mobile app users are an attractive audience for marketers, skewing younger and more affluent than other online adults in the US.

* Different mobile devices from different companies (i.e. Android, iOS, RIM) attract different application users.

* 4 in every 5 smartphone owners access retail ecommerce sites in a typical month.

* 85.9 million Americans aged 18 or older shopped online from a mobile web browser or an application running on Android, the RIM operating system, or Apple's iOS in the past year.

* Mobile apps use is highest among younger adults: People age 23-31 (Gen Y) comprise nearly one-third (30%) of all mobile phone app users, and those ages 32-45 (Gen X) comprise another third (33%).

* People age 46-55 (Younger Boomers) comprise only 13% of all mobile app users.

* Smartphone app users skew slightly male, at 54%, and earn, on average, roughly $12,000 more in annual household income than other US online adults; men are far more likely than women to use tablet apps (62% vs. 38%).

* The demographics of app users vary by device, i.e. iPhone app users tend to be younger and male—fully one-half (50%) are age 18-31—whereas Android app users skew slightly older than app users of other mobile OS platforms.


Mobile purchasing is revolutionizing all aspects of online and in-store shopping. In order to meet and profit from this trend, the mobile-buying experience from the side of retailers has to keep pace with consumer activity. Couple this with the use of retail intelligence and you'll have the winning combination for staying on top of competition as well as consumer trends.

Tablets are transforming online shoppers into mobile shoppers. “Increasingly, mobile devices like tablets are being used as shopping tools… With the upcoming holidays, retailers must prepare for the mobile shopping trend or lose out on the opportunity to convert browsers into buyers,” said Mary Monahan, Executive Vice President and Research Director, Mobile, at Javelin.  

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Gilon Miller, CMO

About Author

Gilon is a seasoned marketing, sales and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in the software and Internet business. He is the Founder and CEO of GuruShots. Previously, Gilon was the CMO of Upstream Commerce, VP of Marketing at iMDsoft and Director of Global Marketing at SAP. He earned an MBA at the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.
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