Study: Mobile Retail Sales Soar in 2013, Especially Via Tablets

According to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research, most mobile commerce took place via tablets in 2013, due primarily to the doubling of tablet ownership year-over-year. Javelin reports that $59.7 billion in sales were made from mobile devices last year, up from $20.7 billion the year prior. The study shows that $56.6 billion was made through a mobile site or app while $3.1 billion was made via a mobile POS. Tablets were responsible for $28.7 billion in mobile commerce.

That figure represents more than five times the $5.1 billion generated via tablets during 2012.

Javelin’s report, “Mobile Payments Market: Tablet Payments Surge as Overall Mobile Retail Sales Top $60 Billion,” also examines how mobile payments are expected to play out in the next five years.

“The demographics of tablet owners will change: The higher income and lower age skew of tablet owners will start to diminish as the devices become mainstream,” said Daniel Van Dyke, research specialist of mobile at Javelin. “Tablets will remain in the hands of the super consumers currently on the devices, but they’ll be joined by everyone else.”

Based on three online surveys with more than 10,000 consumers, Javelin learned that physical goods were purchased by 50 percent of tablet shoppers, apps were purchased by 49 percent, and iPad users spent an average of $30 per month while Android tablet users averaged $20.

Only 17 percent of mobile shoppers relied solely on a browser for shopping, while 72 percent used a combination of mobile Web and app options. And 63 percent of those surveyed indicated they use mobile devices for comparison shopping.

“To keep up with this growing revenue stream, marketers and retailers should be focusing squarely on tablet-optimized sites and application features that take advantage of the larger screen sizes,” notes Mobile Commerce Daily. “The report points out that tablet users are increasingly moving between app and Web experiences in tandem, so the most well-suited marketers will offer both compelling apps and sites.”

“Retailers will adopt a two-prong strategy to drive tablet commerce: They’ll use responsive design to rescale their Web sites to tablet screens and develop tablet-optimized mobile applications,” said Van Dyke. “Furthermore, we’ll see more tablets used as POS devices for line busting.”