e-commerce Editor's pick mobile

M-commerce: Shopping’s brave new world is just two days away


M-commerce rules! Yes really. It’s not just the heir apparent of retail shopping channels, it’s about to be crowned king.

An IBM Watson study says that this Black Friday shopping week more US shoppers will browse online using their smartphones than traditional computers. It’s the first time that’s happened. Significantly, more people will use smartphones to browse than laptops/desktops AND tablets combined.

While tablets usually get lumped in with phones given the fact that they’re technically mobile, their larger size (just look at the new iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface) mean they’re now seen as being more like computers.

Browsing v Buying

Laptops, desktops and tablets, with their ability to do so much more than smartphones, have always had a lead in e-shopping. But the increasing number of mobile-friendly websites and shopping-friendly (ie larger, faster) smartphones has been rapidly closing the gap.

IBM says ‘mobile’ (ie smartphone) traffic over the five-day Black Friday week should rise from 48.5% of traffic to shopping sites a year ago to 56.9%.

Of course, browsing doesn’t mean buying… yet. Bigger screens still win out when it comes to hitting the checkout button. But the figures are changing in mobile’s favour there too. Last year, actual sales through mobile were 27%. This year they should reach 36.1%.

And chances are that growth in this area should accelerate partly because younger shoppers are more likely to go mobile. As more of those younger shoppers graduate into big spenders each year, the move to mobile will gather pace.

In fact, another survey, from Retale, shows that a huge number (88%) of millennials who are shopping on Black Friday will use their phones. And that will include those who actually visit stores as well as sat at home. They’ll be using them to hunt down deals, compare prices, research products, make lists, find out where stores are, and do a whole load of social networking in the process.

And the existence of mobile-only special offers, from retailers such as Amazon and Target, will just add to the mobile migration.

The future of shopping, it seems, starts this Friday.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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