Smartphones to Grow in Importance for Web Traffic and Shopping in 2016

With just days remaining in 2015, now is a good time to think about what business owners and marketers can expect for the new year. The recent holiday shopping season has provided a lot of interesting data that suggest changes in the way consumers use mobile. Smartphones are becoming more useful for online and in-store commerce and this will be a dominating trend of retail in 2016.

Mobile marketing and retail have seen big gains in their share of overall retail in 2015. This can be seen most in recent data from IBM. IBM Watson Trends reported that online sales for Cyber Monday were up 17.8 percent over the same day in 2014. Much of that increase was driven by growth increases in mobile sales.

IBM's data found that mobile traffic nearly matched that of the desktop. Traffic from mobile devices accounted for almost half (47.9 percent) of all online traffic, an increase of 16.3 percent from last year.

The benefit goes beyond increased traffic, though that's useful enough in itself. Sales generated from mobile devices were also impressive. Mobile devices account for more than a quarter (27.6 percent) of all online sales coming. This was an increase of about 25 percent from 2014.

The fact that smartphones are becoming more essential to online shopping can be seen in the average orders for various mobile devices. According to the IBM data, the average order value for the mobile and desktop shopper combined for Cyber Monday was $123.43. Smartphone shoppers spent $102.02 per order. Desktop claimed the highest average order value of $128.00, followed closely by tablets at $124.14.

Though still behind their larger screen cousins, smartphones command a sizeable portion of the mobile commerce market. IBM reported that smartphones remained the Cyber Monday shopper's device of choice. Smartphones accounted for more than a third (36.8 percent) of all online traffic on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Smartphones were performed significantly better than tablets. Smartphones were used more than three times as much as tablets which accounted for 11.1 percent of overall traffic. Smartphones surpassed tablets in sales, driving 15.2 percent of online sales (up nearly 70 percent over 2014) versus tablets at 12.4 percent.

Mobile devices also performed well on Black Friday, when there wasn't as much of a focus on online sales. Even though local stores managed to lure shoppers with generous, in-store specials, online sales for Black Friday were up 21.5 percent over the same day in 2014.

Again, mobile devices played a large role in these high sales and web traffic. Mobile's percentage of mobile sales has grown more than 10 fold since 2010. Back in 2010, mobile sales only accounted for 3.2 percent of online sales on Black Friday, in 2015, mobile account for more than 36 percent.

Smartphones are also at the core of the improvements seen by mobile on Black Friday. The IBM report found that "smartphones accounted for 44.7 percent of all online traffic, 3 and a half times that of tablets at 12.5 percent. Smartphones surpassed tablets in sales, driving 20.6 percent of online sales (up nearly 75 percent over 2014) versus tablets at 15.5 percent".

This early holiday shopping data suggests that mobile marketing, and smartphones in particular, will play a big role in 2016. These devices will be used more and more to search for information nd to shop online. Tablets will remain important, but as smartphones become more powerful and less expensive, marketers can expect to see more people using their smartphones for online activities.

For more information on how business owners and marketers can prepare for 2016, read this article on what people can expect from Facebook and Google in the coming year.

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