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Mobile Monday: Week 5 – Mcommerce

Welcome to Mobile Monday, our weekly blog posting dedicated to providing readers with useful mobile marketing tips from Bob Bentz’s newest book “Relevance Raises Response.” Every Monday ATSmobile continues to grant readers a brief passage from one of the most essential marketing books available for purchase today.shutterstock_283022702 (2)

For our fifth week, we’re focusing on “Mcommerce” where Bentz discusses responsive web design, online transactions and the smart phone becoming of greater use to people.


Everybody has heard of ecommerce, but considerably less people identify with mcommerce. Mcommerce is the selling and purchasing of goods and services through mobile devices, as opposed to traditional ecommerce which occurs on desktop devices.

To be clear, mcommerce is not a separate entity from ecommerce. It is actually a subset of ecommerce sales and it is calculated as part of ecommerce sales. Historically, if businesses could make a little extra selling goods on the small screen of the smartphone, that was great. Today, however, entire businesses such as Uber are mcommerce only platforms.

While mcommerce sales have a few years to go to catch ecommerce sales which make up two-thirds of all online sales in North America, the gap is clearly narrowing each year. There are several reasons for this.

  • Responsive and adaptive web design is now the norm for most mcommerce sites and this evolution has helped eliminate sites not being optimized for mobile — previously the biggest factor in making it difficult to shop on a smartphone.
  • Larger mobile screen sizes are becoming more commonplace. This includes not only tablets, but also phablets–the half tablet, half phone hybrid.
  • There is simply the greater use of the smartphone for everyday use and increased use of making purchases via mobile is one such use.
  • Over time, the public has shown increased confidence in making online transactions on a mobile phone.

Despite the increase in mcommerce sales, however, shoppers are still considerably more likely to make a purchase from a desktop than a mobile phone. This is not only true in overall purchases, but also in the percent of conversions from desktop compared to mobile. While the gap narrows every year, consumers are still more likely to want to make the actual purchase from a desktop.

There remains several reasons for mcommerce’s inability to match ecommerce sales figures. Consider the following:

The smaller screen and lack of a keyboard makes it more difficult to fill out a form and make a purchase. Just entering a 16 digit credit card number correctly without fat fingering any of the numbers is difficult to do on the first try.
A mobile phone is often not near wifi as opposed to a desktop which always has internet access.
Many mobile phones do not accept cookies so it is difficult to pre-fill some of the forms. There is one promising exception, however, as Safari mobile now offers pre-fill forms on its browser–an enhancement that should improve this factor.
Ecommerce sales offer credit card and Paypal payments. Mcommerce payments rely on mobile wallets which are still emerging in the USA.
Consumers have not been purchasing on mobile devices for as long as they have on desktop so there is still some reluctance to do so, especially by older customers.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to making purchases on mobile, tablets act more like laptops and desktops given their larger size. iPads convert best of all followed by Android tablets. Of smartphones, Androids convert to sales better than iPhones. This is surprising given the higher income levels of iPhone users, but Android also skews younger so that does give an edge to it when it comes to mobile sales conversions. In general, desktops tend to convert more often during working hours, but mobile takes over during leisure time.

When it comes to mcommerce, North America trails other countries in the percentage of online purchases made via mobile. In Japan and South Korea, more than half of all online transactions are made by mobile. Percent of purchases made by mobile in the United Kingdom are not far behind those of the Far Eastern countries. According to Forrester, it will take the USA until 2018 until half of its online sales are made via mcommerce. Japanese mobile consumers are over three times more likely to convert to a sale than USA consumers. If USA mobile conversion rates rose to those of Japan, the USA would account for over half of all mcommerce sales worldwide.

Opposite to what is going on in retail stores, mobile users visit online retailers more often and they buy more often, yet the average ticket sale is decreasing slightly on mobile. That is because mobile users are in a hurry when it comes to mcommerce and they are snacking on it often, but in shorter segments.


High Income Households Most Likely Tablet Owners

Thirty-five percent of Americans now own a tablet, according to a recent study by Pew Internet.  Those that are more likely to own a tablet include Asian-Americans, adults 30-49, and high income Americans.

Our previous study that we posted here at the ATS Blog shows that 34% of Americans owned a tablet.  This study was also done by Pew in May, 2013.

tablet ownership stats 2013

Just who owns tablets?


Text Message Marketing Stats, Tips and Advice

Couldn’t make it to our webinar today on text message marketing?  We’ve saved it here for you so that you can listen in on all of the good information provided by speaker Bob Bentz of ATS Mobile and



Restaurants: What’s Your Mobile Strategy?

We’ve long known just how important it is for restaurants to have a mobile marketing strategy.  That’s why we have a specific suite of mobile marketing products geared exclusively to the restaurant industry.

Not convinced?  Take a look at some of the facts from this study.

restaurant mobile search stats


Have a Mobile Website Yet?

If you weren’t sure if you needed a mobile website or not, these statistics should give you added incentive to get one.  It’s a good look at what Americans are doing on their smartphones and searching for information about local businesses is one of them!



Dumb Phone Users Migration to Smart Phones Continues

OK, I admit it.  “Dumb phones” is one of those terms that I have been known to make up for myself.  But, a recent study by Comscore shows Americans are migrating more and more from dumb phones (feature phones) to smartphones.

In April 2011, 38% of new phones purchased by then current feature phone owners were for smartphones.  In April, 2012, however, 47.5% of feature phone owners made the switch to smartphones.

This girl used to be a feature phone owner.

If you would like to see the breakdown of smartphone ownership by age and income, click here.

What does this mean for mobile marketing?  What it means is greater data usage and increased downloads of apps and other advanced mobile marketing tools.


The Shocking Truth About QR Codes

The use of the QR Code increased by 6 times in 2011 and with increased smartphone penetration for 2012, it shows no signs of retreating.

If 2010 was the year of mobile, then 2011 was the year of the QR Code.  The percent of print ads containing QR Codes showed growth from below 1% of all print ads in January 2011 to in excess of 6% of all advertising in December 2011.

QR Code Use 2011


While a variety of 2D barcodes were used in the print advertisements, the vast majority (87.8%) of those utilized in print were QR Codes.  The Microsoft tag, a multi-colored tag using triangular shapes, was second most popular with 10.2%.  The JagTag, DataMatrix Code, SnapTag, and EZ Code made up just over 1% of the use in print advertisements.


QR Code is most popular 2D barcode

The QR Code is the most popular 2D barcode.


Businesses of all types are utilizing 2D barcode technology, although retailers lead with 21.9% of the overall use of bar codes.  It would make sense that technology is the second most used category since those scanning bar codes are likely more tech savvy than the average person.  Interestingly, automotive was just the seventh top category of use of 2D barcodes.

Top Categories for 2D barcode use


For 2D barcodes to continue growing, it is important that they offer relevant feedback that is of value to the scanners.  General commerce and branding are important, but leading the consumer to a value-added features such as a video or mobile coupon is a valuable use of 2D barcode technology.

Unfortunately, some advertisers just don’t get it when it comes to using 2D barcodes.  Over 40% of the QR Codes tracked led to brand home pages.  Leading a consumer to a home page is usually not going to result in great customer satisfaction, especially if that home page is not optimized for mobile.


QR Codes lead to what?

Too many companies are simply using a QR Code to lead consumers to a website that is not optimized for mobile.


The study of 2D barcodes was done by Competitrack which began studying the use of 2D barcodes in January 2011.  Throughout the year, the company identified 7,300 print advertisements that featured 2D barcodes.

Over all of 2011, 4% of all print ads included a 2D barcode, although that number peaked later in the year at over 7% of the ads studied.  Oppenheimer Funds was the leader in utilizing 2D barcodes with 85% of its print ads including 2D barcodes.


Bob Bentz is president of Advanced Telecom Services which has been providing Custom QR Codes, with the branding of the company incorporated into the code itself.  Its apples to apples comparisons with Custom QR Codes vs. traditional black & white QR Codes shows a scan rate that is 2.3 times greater for Custom QR Codes.  If you would like to reach Bentz, you can (how’d you guess?), scan his Custom QR Code below.

Bob Bentz QR Code

Scan the QR Code to be Linked In with Bob Bentz.


Top 10 Reasons to Have a Mobile Website

  1. Google has a separate index for mobile content so it’s easier for your website to be found on mobile devices.
  2. Your regular website is hard to view on a cell phone.
  3. 93% of U.S. adults own a cell phone.
  4. 20% of Americans access the mobile web each day.
  5. Mobile web will overtake the desktop within 5 years.
  6. Google predicts 50% searches from mobile phones in 2012.
  7. 5% of the top 500 online retailers have a mobile website/iPhone app.
  8. Mobile advertising spending will surpass $6.5 billion in 2012.
  9. Users average 13 hours online per week, up from 7 in 2002.
  10. Smart phone sales have grown 96% in one year.

The great thing about a mobile website is that it can be created for about 1/5 of the price of an app with much of the same functionality.  While you may lose out on the pass-by traffic offered by the iPhone store, the savings and less time commitment to develop a mobile microsite makes it easier to complete.


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