Mobile vs Desktop: Where to Focus Your Development

Posted by Load Impact on Apr 24, 2018

In some areas, it’s easy to choose between focusing development resources on mobile apps (and mobile-friendly sites) vs. desktop apps and websites. Not so in e-commerce. The landscape is surprisingly complex, but some new research helps guide your decisions.

We recently shared some insights from the recent Comscore research update (State of the US Online Retail Economy in Q4 2017), and this same research provides some insights for e-commerce professionals (like you).

Mobile vs. Desktop

First data point: More time is spent browsing retail sites on mobile (64%) vs on desktop (36%). In contrast, and surprisingly, 76% of the dollars spent are on desktop (!) sites, with the remaining 24% on mobile.

You read that right: there’s a 40% difference between actions there. People are more likely to shop around and browse on mobile, yet wait until they’re at a desktop to actually purchase.

Our performance testing recommendation based on this research: optimize your mobile apps and sites for browsing first, checkout second. Similarly, optimize your desktop apps and sites for checkout first and browsing second. This insight helps you prioritize your limited development resources and set priorities.

While that spending gulf still exists, it represents significant mobile e-commerce growth. We mentioned that 24% number a moment ago: that is the share of all e-commerce dollars transacted over mobile. In Q4 2010, that number was only 4%, and just three years ago in Q4 2014, it was just 13%. (Year-over-year growth vs. Q4 2017 is less dramatic; then it was 21%). So while we see desktop representing most of the actual spending, mobile continues to grow.

mobile versus destop

Women more likely to buy

Gender also may be significant to your e-commerce operation. The Comscore research says that generally speaking, those who bought on e-commerce sites were generally more likely to be women than those who just browsed.

You may consider how this affects your ideal user profiles and your user flows. (Note, also, that this trend was accurate with most leading e-commerce sites except for eBay, Best Buy and Home Depot.)

E-Commerce growth segments

As you’re planning your development through the end of the year, you may also be deciding which new segments to focus on. Again, Comscore research might help with thisFirst, here’s what to avoid: computer software. That has a very low year-over-year growth rate, and is unlikely to deliver significant return on your resource investment.

Comscore listed 10 categories, however, with a “very strong” growth rate, which it defined as over 15%. Consider these:

  • Consumer packaged goods
  • Toys & hobbies
  • Apparel & accessories
  • Computer hardware (interesting it’s growing while software is declining - perhaps it’s all video cards for cryptocurrency mining)
  • Flowers, greetings & gifts
  • Event tickets
  • Furniture, appliances & equipment
  • Home & garden
  • Books & magazines
  • Consumer electronics

Whew. There was a lot to unpack from these stats, but hopefully they’ll help you guide your e-commerce development projects.

Happy testing!

Topics: mobile, desktop, Load Testing, Performance testing, comScore

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