Mobile commerce hasn’t been a focus during the pandemic, but recently retail apps and other usage patterns are starting to appear as more than a blip on the Digital 3.0 radar.
Consumers have adopted using mobile for restaurant orders. According to data cited in the June edition of the PYMNTS “Order Ahead Mobile Tracker,” 25 percent of consumers have increased their usage of third-party apps, with their primary incentives being cravings for specific types of food and low delivery costs. However the digital shift at retail has focused mainly on general eCommerce surges.
“The e-commerce industry as a whole got a bit shell-shocked in the first few weeks of March in the wake of COVID-19, with marketers dialing back ad spend,” says Paul H. Müller, co-founder and CTO of mobile measurement company Adjust. “But as we saw the vertical start to rebound in April, there’s been a broader push toward re-targeting and re-engagement — in line with bringing customers back into the funnel and keeping their existing ones engaged.”
One company has now tabbed the current post-pandemic economy as the “Golden age of m-commerce” as a new research project from mobile retargeting platform Liftoff has found that customer engagement has gone up 40 percent through the channel and the cost of acquisition via retail apps has halved since 2019 at $19.47 per customer. Mobile engagement, according to the report has spiked 40 percent as a 14.7 percent purchase rate was measured over 2019’s 10.5 percent.
“Last year, our analysis found that the rise of sales bonanzas from retail giants like Amazon, Flipkart and Alibaba were tilling the soil for other retailers, priming mobile users to shop year-round, and this trend is only continuing,” says Mark Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Liftoff. “As consumers adapt to the changing retail landscape, they’re leaning on mobile more than ever. It’s never been a better time to be a retail app marketer.”
The Liftoff report finds that eCommerce in general is growing five times faster than offline sales. Mobile is the main driver for that and will be responsible for almost 75 percent of all eCommerce transactions by 2021. The number of cross-border mobile commerce orders has increased globally by more than 43 percent, according to 2019 data from solutions provider Global-e. Countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore and the U.S. saw cross-border purchases using mobile and apps jump as much as 60 percent.
“Mobile is also driving new mobile shopping behaviors and opportunities. Today, product categories such as groceries take a bigger share of the basket, while others such as beauty and apparel are building brand with the help of social networks, such as Snapchat, and Augmented Reality (AR). It’s a new kind of retail that analysts forecast will be a major contributor to sales growth and attract Millennials and Gen Z consumers, a mobile-first audience segment that holds massive spending power,” says the report.
The growth for mCommerce of course depends on global smartphone ownership and mobile internet access. According to the GSMA trade group, In 2019, 260 million people connected to the mobile internet for the first time, for a total 3.8 billion people globally (49 percent of the population).