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2014 Holiday Ecommerce Statistics

Responsive is everything. That’s what our data from last weekend’s shopping seasons is saying.

For U.S. retailers, the weekend after Thanksgiving is the traditional bellwether of sales. That’s when consumers have their wallets out and are ready to buy anywhere they go.

As part of our on-boarding process, we ask our clients to give us access to their Google Analytics data. While this step is optional, it lets us gain further insights in to clients’ traffic and develop theories on how they can grow traffic and revenue.

When comparing Total Mobile vs. Desktop Visits, it’s effectively a 50/50 split.

We looked at data from our top 20 performing ecommerce clients (mostly on the Shopify platform) from 11/28 through 12/1. Of the 41K visitors in our sample, we saw 49.54% of traffic coming from mobile (33.01% from mobile phones, 16.53% from tablets) and just 50.46% from traditional computers. By comparison, mobile was 40.1% of traffic for the same period last year. That's a big leap for this year.

Let’s dive a little deeper into that data and see what other interesting findings we can dig up—

Most mobile traffic is on an Apple device.
iOS takes a whopping 74.43% of traffic, Android gets 23.2%. While Android devices outsell iOS devices, it would seem they get used less. But what about the remaining 2.37%? It consists mainly of Windows Phone and Blackberry, as well as some embedded devices like game consoles.

How does device usage affect conversion rate?
Conversion rates are typically best on desktop, second best on tablet, and poorest on mobile regardless of whether or not a site is responsive. However, sites that are responsive often performed twice as well across all devices including desktop.

Mobile strategy consultant Jonathan Stark suggests, "The other thing that's probably hidden in the numbers is that people search for stuff on their mobile and then make the purchase on their desktop which would explain why responsive sites do better across-the-board." While we can't yet track sessions across devices to prove this theory, we're inclined to agree.

Average conversion rate for non-responsive sites:

  • Desktop: 2.61%
  • Tablet: 1.56%
  • Mobile: 0.83%

Average conversion rate for responsive sites:

  • Desktop: 4.42%
  • Tablet: 3.10%
  • Mobile: 2.10%

How about the top ten devices?
Things get a little fuzzy here. Apple devices report themselves without specifics. All iPhones and iPads report themselves as a single respective device. This hides fragmentation and pushes them to the top of the list. Where as Android phones proudly report their branding, so it’s easy to tease out specific devices.

  1. Apple iPhone (all)
  2. Apple iPad (all)
  3. Samsung Galaxy S5
  4. Samsung Galaxy S4
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
  6. Samsung Galaxy S3
  7. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3
  8. Motorola Droid Ultra
  9. HTC One
  10. Samsung Galaxy Note 2

What’s interesting here is the range of screen sizes and resolutions represented. A developer can no longer make a breakpoint at 320 and 768 and claim a site is responsive.

So what?
The rapid adoption of mobile means that any site not taking a mobile-first approach isn’t just leaking money, it’s hemorrhaging it. If the distribution is an even 50/50 split this year, we can expect mobile to overtake desktop next year. Anecdotally, one of the stores in our dataset already had 65% users on mobile.

What you need to do:
  1. Accept that mobile is everything.
  2. Ensure your site is fully fluid. If you resize your desktop window, it should work at every resolution, not just a few breakpoints.
  3. Make sure your website loads in four seconds or less on cellular data connections. (Remember, the US has some of the slowest data speeds in the world.)
  4. Have someone not familiar with your site attempt to find and purchase a product and watch over their shoulder to find usability problems.

We’re available to help identify and fix these issues for your Shopify store. We're one of the higest-rated Shopify experts.