Study: Online shoppers still prefer traditional platforms over mobile


Despite all the hype surrounding mobile commerce, good old-fashioned desktops and laptops are still in style when it comes to making digital purchases.

According to the 2016 Digital Commerce Survey of more than 1,000 adult U.S. consumers from digital commerce strategy firm Sumo Heavy, 72% of respondents prefer using a laptop or desktop PC to shop online. Only 28% prefer using tablets or smartphones. Furthermore, 42% of respondents have never used a tablet to shop online, while 32% have never used a smartphone.

One reason for this discrepancy may be much higher satisfaction ratings for desktop/laptop-based online shopping. Eighty-one percent of respondents generally have great online shopping experiences with a desktop/laptop and only 1% rate their experience as unpleasant.

In contrast, 44% of tablet shoppers rate their experiences great and 48% say they are unpleasant. Smartphone shoppers have an even lower rate of great experiences (32%), although the rate of unpleasant experiences is also lower (19%).

However, retailers should also consider that frequent online shoppers are 46% more likely to prefer a tablet or smartphone over a desktop or laptop to shop online.

Retailers trying to ensure a great online shopping experience should consider popular e-commerce site features such as product image zoom (71%) and site search (63%). The least used features are product recommendations (29%) and featured product listings (24%).

Eighty-one percent of respondents say they would leave an e-commerce site if it contains broken links or frequent error pages. Nearly three out of four say that either slow site speeds (74%) or complicated checkout processes (73%) will also cause them to leave. If all else is working well, 42% would look past poor product imagery and continue shopping on the site.

It is also worth noting that only 4% of respondents feel that popups that request an email address or other personal information are generally acceptable. However, 24% say it’s OK if an incentive is offered but 72% still feel that these kinds of popups are never OK.

Whatever access device is used or potential problems that may exist, online shopping is generally popular. Ninety-one percent of respondents are moderate online shoppers (51%) or shop online very or extremely often (41%). Only 9% rarely or never shop online.

When engaging in mobile commerce, 64% of respondents prefer shopping on a mobile-optimized site over a native mobile app and 36% prefer using mobile shopping apps. Sixty-two percent use smartphones while shopping in person. Top reasons for this include: to compare prices (73%), to search deals or coupons (58%) and to read product reviews (58%).

Only 30% use their phones to find alternative products. Women are 37% more likely than men to use their smartphones to search for deals and coupons while shopping in person.

When it comes to social commerce, 73% of respondents have heard of or are familiar with social buy buttons on platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest. But of these, only 14% have actually used them to make a purchase and 61% say they will not be using them any time soon.

Overall, only 10% of all respondents have tried social buy buttons before, yet 73% of those who have tried them say they would use them again. One in five (19%) respondents say they are open to the idea of social buy buttons, but just haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

Other interesting findings include:

● 45% of respondents are open to downloading a mobile app that alerts them of special offers on products while they shop in person (i.e., beacons); 55% are not.

● 71% of respondents have encountered a virtual customer service agent while shopping online and 42% have interacted with one.

● Of those who have used virtual agents, 48% find them useful and 52% believe they don’t offer much value.

● When asked which product categories, if any, excite them when it comes to virtual reality-powered online shopping experience, respondents were most excited for clothing/apparel (52%) and consumer electronics (49%).

● The least popular virtual reality product categories were household appliances (27%) and groceries/household products (22%). Home decor and furniture fared slightly better at 36%.

● 61% of men are excited about virtual reality-powered online shopping for consumer electronics, compared to just 37% of women.