INside Performance Marketing
Q1 2016 Sees Mobile Traffic Increase Yet Transactions Drop Off

Q1 2016 Sees Mobile Traffic Increase Yet Transactions Drop Off

Affiliate Window’s mobile data is drawn from over 3.5 million network transactions each month across 2,100 advertisers spanning the retail, travel and telecoms sectors. Clients we work with include John Lewis, Marks & Spencer, British Telecom and lastminute.com.

Working with around half the top 100 retail brands in the UK as well as over 1,000 SMEs allows us to build a comprehensive picture of the mobile landscape.

Q1 traffic increases while sales see a dip

Having seen mobile traffic increase as we went into the busy Christmas trading period, it has continued its surge into the New Year. Q1 2016 saw mobile traffic outstrip that of desktop for the first time with 51% of traffic across the network originating from a mobile device.

Throughout March, mobile traffic was consistently above 50% and hit a peak of 61.4% on Monday, March 14

This increase in the share of traffic continues to be driven by smartphones – 28% of all traffic in Q1 came through a smartphone. This has increased month on month throughout the quarter. In January 26.7% of traffic was from a smartphone and this increased to 29.3% in March.

While Q4 2015 was boosted by a mobile Christmas, mobile traffic showed no sign of slowing as we entered the New Year.

Switching our attention to sales, we see a different picture. The discounting in the run-up to Christmas facilitated strong conversion rates through mobile which meant we saw a high share of sales originating from mobile devices. However, despite an increase in the share of mobile traffic, we experienced a drop off in the share of sales in Q1 – from 39.4% to 37.5%. 

It is important to remember the role of mobile as an influencing device. While the share of sales dropped slightly, the increase in traffic shows that mobile is continuing to play a key role in customer journeys across the channel. It is becoming increasingly important for advertisers to be able to track customer journeys across multiple devices to gain a true understanding of their value. 

We have consistently seen traffic dominated by smartphones while tablets lead the way in transactions – but Q1 saw us finally reach the milestone where more mobile sales were driven by smartphones than tablets – 19.3% vs 18.2%.  

With larger phones and better connectivity, the boundaries between smartphones and tablets are becoming increasingly blurred, demonstrated by the erosion of tablet's share of sales. This is something that we expect to see increase further into 2016 with smartphones consistently overtaking tablet in terms of sales as well as traffic. 

Conversion rates drop as discounting ends

Having seen strong conversion rates in the run up to Christmas, it is not surprising to see this drop off in Q1. Mobile conversion rates dropped to 3.65% (from 4.6%) while desktop also dropped to 6.3% (from 6.5%).

Breaking this mobile data down further by device type, tablet saw the most significant drop from 5.5% in Q4 to 3.9% in Q1 2016. Smartphone conversion also experienced a drop from 4.2% to 3.4%.

While the discounting in Q4 lead to strong conversion rates, it meant that average order values dropped off. This picked up again in Q1 2016 with desktop increasing from £76.34 to £82.73. Mobile AOV remained steady with smartphone actually dropping slightly (£55.31 from £57.54) but was offset by an increase in tablet AOV (£71.96 from £69.51).

The iPhone continues to dominate while the iPad loses ground

Looking more closely at a breakdown of Apple vs Android devices, the iPhone continues to be the dominant smartphone. It again increased its share of traffic (79.8%) although sales dropped slightly (78.4% to 77.8%) while Android lost market share in terms of traffic (20.23%) but increased in sales (22.25%).

Switching attention to tablets, Android continues to increase its market share in terms of both traffic and sales. However, while they generate 65% of all tablet traffic, poorer conversion rates mean this translates to just 35.3% of sales. 

Q1 saw Android tablets convert at 2.1% which is some way behind the iPad at 7.3% while both devices saw a drop off from Q4 2015 figures (3.1% and 8.7% respectively).

As well as being more likely to purchase, iPad users are also spending more when they do. The AOV of iPad was £81.24 in Q1 compared to £54.56 for Android tablets.

With a strong start to 2016 we are expecting to see this continue throughout the year, with smartphones consolidating their position as the go-to mobile device of choice. You can see a full breakdown of our quarterly mobile stats here.

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Matt Swan

Matt Swan

As a Client Strategist at Digital Window Matt works with advertisers across both Affiliate Window and buy.at platforms. The role involves working closely with the account management and business development teams on delivering and optimising affiliate campaigns.

Matt also works on research projects both for individual clients and overall market trends. He has recently undertaken research into the mobile network sector and also investigating the growth of m-commerce within the affiliate channel.

Read more from Matt

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