The level of comfort that U.S. consumers have browsing retail sites on smartphones has hit a new stride. Four out of every five smartphone users, the equivalent of 85.9 million total individuals, accessed retail content on their device in July, according to a new study from comScore. Adult males and females accounted for an equal proportion of total retail visitors during the month, but comScore found that females comprised a higher share of the time spent on retail destinations.
Female smartphone users accounted for 56.1 percent of total minutes spent on retail while smartphone users between the ages of 25 and 44 comprised more than half, or 55.7 percent, of the total time spent in the category. Smartphone users living in households earning more than $100,000 per year also accounted for 31.2 percent of the time spent in retail.
Attracting these increasingly engaged consumers on smartphones is both a challenge and an incredible opportunity for marketers to disrupt purchasing behavior with more engaging content and shopping experiences. Amazon's family of sites reached almost one out of every two smartphone users, racking up a total audience of 49.6 million visitors in July. The next closest standout for mobile retail in July was eBay with 32.6 million total visitors, according to comScore.
Multi-channel retailers like Apple (17.7 million visitors), Walmart (16.3 million visitors), Target (10 million visitors), and Best Buy (7.2 million visitors) rounded out the top six performers in attracting mobile audiences. The remaining retailers to make the top 15 in comScore's study included Ticketmaster, CVS, The Home Depot, Blockbuster, Barnes & Noble, Walgreens, Limited Brands, Lowes, and Etsy.
ComScore also found that iPhone had a higher penetration rate than Android across most of the top retailers, but Android delivered a larger audience overall due to its higher market share among smartphone owners. Google's Android operating system delivered nearly 47.8 million total unique visitors to the top 15 mobile retailers in July, while Apple's iPhone delivered nearly 34.9 million total unique visitors.
"This pronounced shift in consumer behavior is simply too large for retailers to ignore, with the future of their business depending on how well they adapt to the new environment," noted Mark Donovan, SVP of mobile at comScore.
"Our vision is that the shopping experience is about to change and the mobile will become the main medium to change the shopping experience," said Jérémie Leroyer, CEO of Airtag, an m-commerce provider for retailers like McDonald's and financial institutions such as MasterCard.
"Our challenge is to invent new forms of retail, and new ways of delivering services and products to the customer in store," he added. "If we don't provide new services around mobile shopping, then the customer will not be interested."
Mobile commerce is a complex and rapidly evolving environment, with new and existing players entering the market or extending into new services on a regular basis. Just earlier this week, Groupon announced a new payments service that enables merchants to accept credit cards at competitive rates. With daily deals sites like Groupon now venturing into mobile payments, it's clear that many players and watchers anticipate disruption along various points of contact between retailers and shoppers.
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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