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Christmas 2010 saw spike in mobile shopping: study

January 21, 2011

Amazon is one of the most successful retailers on the mobile Web

There was a notable increase in the number of visits to’s mobile Web site towards the end of the year compared to earlier in 2010, according to Opera Software ASA’s State of the Mobile Web Report.

The countries exemplifying the mobile shopping trend among users of the Opera Mini mobile Web browser were the United States and Germany. Shoppers in these countries doubled the number of page views to towards the end of the year as compared to the start of 2010, making this past Christmas the season of the mobile shopper.

“People really are using their mobile phones—and access to the mobile Web—as part of their shopping experience,” said Thomas Ford, Los Angeles-based senior communications manager at Opera Software.

“It is much easier to comparison-shop, find reviews or even simply buy your holiday gifts using your mobile device than it has ever been and shoppers are embracing this unprecedented level of convenience,” he said.

“While many U.S. Opera Mini users have smartphones, many people continue to access the Web through their feature phones, so ensuring that everyone has access to your site is critical as the age of mobile commerce really begins to take off.”

Mobile holiday shopping
The sharp increase of mobile shopping over the last year increased even more at the end of 2010, especially during the traditional holiday shopping frenzy, according to the Opera report.

Mr. Ford said that this was especially visible in the daily number of visits to during the U.S. shopping weekend starting with Black Friday and ending with Cyber Monday.

In both monthly and daily numbers, the increase is significant and shows consumers’ willingness to shop and browse online stores using their mobile devices.

Mr. Ford said that the most surprising finding of Opera’s State of the Mobile Web report was clearly the sheer numbers.

In the month of December, 7.4 percent of all U.S. monthly users of Opera Mini used

“Those numbers may not seem surprising, but they are actually quite significant,” Mr. Ford said.

Furthermore, on Black Friday alone—Nov. 26, 2010—more than 2.5 percent of all Opera Mini users in the U.S. that day accessed

Mr. Ford said that went from not even being on the list of top 10 sites to being No. 8, which clearly shows the impact of these numbers.

In addition, the spike in page views for Amazon on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday shows a clear trend towards consumers using the mobile Web as a tool for comparison-shopping or actual mobile commerce, or both.

Mr. Ford said that he thinks as consumers’ general comfort with using the mobile Web grows, so too will mobile commerce.

“This is the first time we have examined mobile shopping, so it will be interesting to see what happens next year,” Mr. Ford said. “Then perhaps we can give a broader study on mobile shopping that might paint a more complete picture.

“I think there are few barriers to the growth of mobile commerce,” he said. “We do not know for what reason so many people were using’s mobile site, but the numbers are difficult to ignore.

“We believe mobile shopping will only grow in importance as people put more emphasis on using their mobile phones for a variety of purposes.”

Mr. Ford said that another important finding of the report is that these visits and page views happened through the mobile Web, not via mobile applications.

“As the rush to develop dedicated mobile aplications increases, we urge merchants to remember that the Web browser remains a key part of how people interact with their mobile phone, so make sure to make your site mobile-friendly,” Mr. Ford said.

Final Take
Opera for tablets preview

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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