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Mobile Consumer Spending: Big Data Insights for Holiday Retailers

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Mobile devices captured nearly 20 percent of all online shopping in Q3 2012, which bodes incredibly well for online retailers heading into the holiday season. Over the past year, total shopping sessions from has risen 161 percent, while smartphones are not far behind with a 119 percent increase.

Monetate shares these big data insights and more in their Q3 2012 Ecommerce Quarterly report. Their examination of trends across 100 million online shopping sessions contains a number of important data points for retailers looking to take advantage of the growing mobile opportunity through better understanding of consumer spending behavior.

In each of their quarterly reports, Monetate focus on three primary visitor segments:

    • Predefined: New versus returning; referring traffic sources; technographics; geography.
    • Custom or Proprietary: Demographics; proximity to location.
    • In-Session Behavior: Shopping cart activity; brand or category affinity.

Interestingly, they found that none of the top five U.S. states responsible for the greatest volume of e-commerce website traffic have the highest conversion rates. In fact, Wyoming has the dubious distinction as the state with the lowest traffic volume, but highest conversion rate, at 5.02 percent.

California drives the most traffic at 13.47 percent, yet experiences the lowest conversion rate, with just 2.89 percent of lookers becoming buyers. "Knowing the customer’s current location — not only by state, but at the county or city level — allows marketers to build segmentation strategies that can include real-time or forecasted weather, as well as proximity to a physical store or a competitor’s location," said the report.

Return customers convert better at 4.07 percent, compared to first-time visitors at 2.09 percent. How can marketers capitalize on this insight? "Dynamically change content on homepages and other popular landing pages based on whether a visitor has come to your website before" Monetate recommends. "Try displaying recently-added products for returning visitors, while showing new visitors the website’s bestsellers."

Share of Total Website Traffic by Device

One year ago, less than 8 percent of e-commerce site traffic came from mobile devices. Tablet traffic is most popular from shoppers in Hawaii, at 11.56 percent of all traffic. Four other states have ten percent or more shoppers using tablets: Texas, Nevada, New Jersey and Alaska.

Monetate found no correlation between e-commerce site traffic market share and the percentage of mobile users, though. California, which overall drives the most ecommerce website traffic, ranks near the bottom of tablet traffic market share at 7.84 percent, while tablet users from Iowa are responsible for just 7.18 percent of website traffic, lower than any other state.

Global Comparison of Retail Metrics Q3 2012

In their analysis of average order value, conversions, and cart abandonment, researchers found that global shoppers convert far less, but spend more on average per order. International shoppers are also more likely to abandon their cart during shopping sessions.

"Display messages on the homepage that let visitors know, based on their country, whether shipping to their location is available," Monetate recommends. "Then, go a step further by promoting favorable shipping terms for shoppers from regions where delivery costs won’t be extremely high. Make international shipping policies and processes as clear as possible for each country, factoring in fixed costs."

For more details and the full set of recommendations based on their research, download Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly directly from their website.


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