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Data points to sharp gains in mobile commerce, app use

August 25, 2014

0822ComScore185Mobile commerce continues to grow at a rate many times faster than both ecommerce and in-store sales volumes, as app use among consumers also rises, new research from comScore indicates.

Second-quarter growth in mcommerce jumped 47 percent in the second quarter, comScore data revealed, doubling the pace of previous quarters. That acceleration came as the pace of ecommerce growth on desktop slowed compared with prior quarters.

“This quarter we saw a huge jump in mcommerce,” said Adam Lella, marketing insights analyst at comScore. “It has definitely been picking up recently.”

ComScore published the data just prior to releasing its first report on the mobile app industry, in which it found that app use now accounts for more than half of the time people spend on digital media, at 52 percent.

Pointing to Q4 gains
The growth in mcommerce in the second quarter of this year can be partially attributed to an exceptionally slow growth rate in the second quarter of last year. Sales via mobile still only accounted for 11.1 percent of total ecommerce sales in the 2014 period.

However, if trends in mobile commerce activity from 2012 and 2013 hold true this year, mobile could be poised for more growth in the final two quarters. Last year mobile commerce growth rose by about 2 percentage points from the second to the third quarter, and then by another percentage point from the third to the fourth quarter.

The growth in the second quarter this year was largely driven by tablet use, which saw a 75 percent increase in sales volume. That compares with a 29 percent gain in sales via smartphone and a 10 percent increase in ecommerce conducted on desktop.

Meanwhile comScore’s U.S. Mobile App Report shows that while time spent consuming digital media on desktop  grew only 1 percent in the past year, time spent on mobile apps jumped 52 percent, and time spent on mobile Web grew 17 percent.

Overall, digital media consumption was up 24 percent between June 2013 and June 2014.

The report also found that more than one-third of all U.S. smartphone owners download at least one 
app per month, and the average smartphone user within this segment downloads three apps per month. The top 7 percent of smartphone owners account for nearly half of all app downloads in any given month.

Interestingly, 42 percent of all time spent on apps is spent on an individual’s single favorite app.

Atop the list of most-used mobile apps, based on number of unique visitors, was Facebook, with nearly 115.4 million unique visits in June. It was followed by YouTube, Google Play, Google Search and Pandora Radio.


The highest-ranking retail site on the list was Amazon Mobile at number 19 with 26.5 million unique visitors. EBay followed at number 21 with 22.2 million visitors.

Overall, retailer apps accounted for 5 percent of app time. Social networking  and games were the most heavily used apps, accounting for 25 percent and 16 percent of app time, respectively.

“It’s clear people are shopping on their apps, and looking at products on mobile,” Mr. Lella said. “Even though time spent on mobile has surpassed desktop, mcommerce is still a smaller percentage. But I think eventually we will see those mobile numbers start to catch up.”

Final Take
Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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