Why Retailers Need to Focus on Mobile Shoppers This Holiday Season

By Staff Reporter

Nov 29, 2019 12:26 PM EST

Why Retailers Need to Focus on Mobile Shoppers This Holiday Season(photo) (Credit: Getty Image)

Mobile shopping is on the rise - and it shows no sign of slowing. Just ahead of this year's holiday shopping season, AdColony released a new study showing that 8 in 10 shoppers use smartphones to buy holiday gifts.

Many consumers are using their phones exclusively to make purchases - 45% of AdColony's survey respondents. The vast majority of consumers - 81% - have used their phones to buy gifts for loved ones.

During the holiday season in 2018, 40% of all e-commerce purchases were made on mobile devices.

Retailers have been hearing that mobile will take over online shopping for years. While we're not quite there yet, mobile shopping is catching on quickly.

If you're not focusing on mobile shoppers, you need to start now. Here's why:

Consumers Feel Safe Making Purchases from Mobile

More consumers are feeling comfortable making purchases from mobile devices. According to AdColony's survey, many consumers believe that mobile is just as secure as a desktop. 

Mobile shopping has come a long way in just a few years. Research from 2016 showed that 44% of online shoppers were using desktops or laptops to make purchases and 41% preferred shopping in stores. Only 7% were shopping through tablets, 4% through smartphones and 4% through catalogs.

Consumers were still wary of making purchases on mobile devices. They felt safer buying on a desktop or laptop. At that time, many online stores were simply not focusing on mobile, so browsing and navigating ecommerce sites was cumbersome and slow.

Today, mobile devices are faster, and more retailers have developed mobile-friendly sites that make shopping a breeze. Both of these factors have helped make consumers feel more comfortable making purchases on their phones and tablets.

But 39% of consumers prefer to shop using an app instead of a browser, according to AdColony's survey. When shopping on mobile, consumers want:

  • An online store that's easy to navigate

  • Exclusive offers

  • Easy payment processing

Shoppers Use Their Phone to Compare In-Store Prices

Even when shopping in stores, consumers still use their mobile devices to browse, compare and read reviews. In fact, 61% of survey respondents feel it's important to have a smartphone while shopping in stores.

Consumers use their phones to:

  • Compare prices (55%)

  • Take advantage of discounts (46%)

They also use their phones to take pictures and read through product reviews before completing their purchase.

Online Shopping is Still Preferred

Online shopping is convenient, and consumers love convenience. That's why customers are still more likely to make a purchase online even if they visit a store. 


  • They found a better deal online

  • They needed a different color, size, etc.

  • They changed their mind and didn't want to go back to the store

As more consumers become more comfortable making purchases on their phones and more retailers develop mobile-friendly shopping experiences, the percentage of mobile purchases will increase. Retailers need to start focusing more on mobile shoppers - if they aren't already - to stay ahead of the competition, or in the very least, stay in the game.

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