conversions by device

Datacember 26th: Mobile steals the show but desktop rakes the dough

It’s all about mobile. Mobile dominates the e-commerce news, your company’s strategic goals and your developers’ collective time. It’s your own go-to device, whether you’re on the go or on the couch. Santa may very well have dropped smartphones in stockings at your house yesterday. Yes, it’s all about mobile. Unless it’s not.

It’s not.

Mobile gets the attention. It’s pretty. It’s sparkly. It’s ubiquitous. But, by and large, conversions are still overwhelmingly occurring on desktop devices. It’s Datacember, so let’s go to the data to prove the point.

First, here is the breakdown of visits by device from Veterans Day through Christmas Eve.

visits by device

Mobile is the real deal when it comes to traffic and even surpasses desktop on weekends and a few holidays like Thanksgiving. Lump in tablets and you can see why desktop is the forgotten device, relegated to the land of forgotten toys.

But now let’s look at products viewed by device, which we can think of as a proxy for engagement. More product views mean a shopper is getting deeper into the site.

product views by device

OK, now desktop is earning its keep. Desktop is pulling in an average of 56.7 percent over the holiday shopping period, compared with 31.8 percent for mobile and a scant 11.5 percent for tablets. So, while visits are more mobile, engagement on the site is still leaning significantly towards desktop.

Now for the graph you’ve all been waiting for…conversions.

conversions by device

That’s pretty clear. Desktop is still the device of choice, garnering 68.2 percent of all conversions on average for the holiday period. Mobile and tablet pulled in 19.2 percent and 12.6 percent respectively.

I still think there are some caveats to consider. First, smartphone influence on sales  — in-store and on other devices  — is significant. So, it’s not as if any retailer worth their salt would deprioritize mobile. Which leads me to my second point, mobile conversions may be inevitable for retailers who focus on mobile experiences and use cases. I think BOPIS (buy-online-pickup-in-store) is a year or two away from being a big contributor. And I’d also posit to guess that we as consumers are getting more and more comfortable purchasing on mobile. As that gets even easier (and more trusted), we’ll see mobile’s share of conversions inching up over time. In fact, I’ve seen data for some sites whose mobile share has nearly doubled in the last year.

So yeah, mobile is a big part of our (Christmas) future. But desktop is the forgotten hero of this holiday season.