Last week represented the first time in history that more people used mobile phones and tablets to visit online stores than using computers. Looking at data from over 100,000 ecommerce stores that use the Shopify platform, we saw 50.3% of traffic coming from mobile (40.3% from mobile phones, 10% from tablets) and just 49.7% from computers.
The rise in mobile phone traffic to online stores is partly being fuelled by the overall trend of social-fuelled discovery becoming a major marketing channel. For example, while Facebook accounted for less than 5% of traffic to ecommerce sites on desktop, that number jumps to 7% when looking at mobile phones. In comparison, search based traffic from Google represented 18% of traffic from computers, but just 12% on mobile phones. This data seems to show that computers are being used to search for more commodity-type goods, while social media and mobile are used for more spontaneous, discovery-based purchases.
The rise in mobile shopping also brings about another fascinating trend, what we’re calling “always-on shopping”. Computer-based traffic to ecommerce sites traditionally peaked between Monday and Friday and trailed off during the weekend. Mobile traffic has somewhat opposite behaviour since shoppers use their phones most during the weekends. So when you combine mobile, tablet and computer traffic to ecommerce sites, you no longer find any discernable spikes when people are shopping online. In other words, shopping is no longer something people go and do anymore; it’s something they are always doing.