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The year of the mobile has finally arrived but is everybody ready?

The year of the mobile has finally arrived but is everybody ready?


Smart phone and tablet sales continue to rise, mobile broadband penetration levels are on the up and the price for all this convenience and technology is decreasing, no longer exclusively for the early adopters or the rich and famous but for the masses.

So are we using these miniature personal computers/mobile wallets to their full capacity, purchasing tickets, booking hotel rooms, buying a tent, a pair of jeans or even a new smart phone, or are we in fact just playing a lot of Angry Birds?

I think it’s worth taking a look at what’s potentially holding back m-Commerce and if retailers are in a place where they can begin to embrace and benefit from the technology that is out there.

The Good:

In 2011 sales of smart phone devices surpassed that of PC sales for the first time surpassing predictions made as early as 2011.

As a network TradeDoubler are seeing that:

  • On average 3.51% of the traffic on TradeDoubler’s network is from a mobile device.
  • We have more than 400 million mobile impressions across our network.
  • Seven of TradeDoubler’s European markets have over 3% of their local network impressions being delivered on a mobile device; surprisingly Norway has over 10%.
  • iPhone traffic represents that lions share at 36%.

The Bad:

A recent report from 2ergo has found that 58% of the top American retailers have a mobile-optimized website and 50% have an iPhone, Android or BlackBerry smartphone application. Just over a third (35%) of those reviewed have both a mobile site and at least one mobile application, I think that’s encouraging. However, 27% of the top-100 American retailers have no mobile service at all which is less encouraging.

The Ugly:

When this study was performed in the UK in 2010 it found that 93% of the top 80 UK retailers were not taking full advantage of an optimized mobile presence to reach mobile shoppers.

The Shift:

As savvy online marketers are ahead of the curve, we can spot shifts in consumer behaviour and the ways that people interact and engage with online, this shift towards mobile purchasing comes with so many different opportunities and ways to target users that neither ad networks or advertisers have really grasped the best way to attract this new method of delivering sales. Remember m-Commerce enables advertisers to do the following:

  • Specifically target audiences depending on their age, gender, country, location, mobile device, or individual tastes
  • Display ads across sites and apps for all mobile devices
  • Control and optimise campaigns via real-time reporting and analytics
  • NFC technologies have turned the humble mobile phone into a digital wallet
  • Mobile voucher application enables truly targeted local marketing

According o a Datamonitor report we can expect to see the m-Commerce market grow to a value of £1.31bn, or 5.0% of all online spending in 2011. Mobile devices are becoming a crucial tool for shoppers to research purchases, utilise vouchers and discount codes, check product availability, compare prices and perform a number of other retail related functions. Unless retailers adapt and evolve through the development of mobile optimised websites, apps and reputation management they risk losing out to competitors and missing those incremental sales.

How are Advertisers responding?

As in the consumer market there were a few early adopter of this technology. However general trends show a cautious market that hasn’t fully embraced the channel yet. We are however beginning to see a switch in focus from e-Commerce to m-Commerce; advertisers are taking heed of the massive audience potential and are finally developing the tools necessary to bridge the gap between what already exists and what is possible.

Out of the retailers who adopted early I guess the biggest success story is that of eBay, back in 2009 they reported $380 million of sales value through it’s mobile channel. Within the UK 10% of all purchases on eBay now take place through a mobile device, and what’s even more encouraging is that the UK is leading the way with more people buying and selling via mobile on eBay UK than in any other European country.

Angus McCarey, Retail Director for eBay UK, said:

“With consumers having instant access on-the-move, mobile shopping has come of age and as such retailers who don’t take steps to embrace it now risk being left behind. While it took years for internet shopping to become mainstream, we believe mobile commerce will do it in less than half the time. Indeed, if sales on our UK site are anything to go by, we have never before seen such significant year over year growth – currently at triple digits.

"It’s not just the weekly shop that people are now buying regularly through their mobiles; consumers are demonstrating how comfortable they are in purchasing much more expensive items such as supercars and holiday homes.”

eBay achieved this staggering success in mobile by giving it’s audience a safe, reliable and most importantly easy way to shop using their mobile devices


The market is clearly there, the potential is huge and in some cases that potential is beginning to be unlocked by advertisers. Historically when pushing forward a completely new type of shopping behaviour you have to consider how to build and educate your audience, but in the case of m-Commerce this simply isn’t necessary. The audience already exists, it is already tech savvy and ready to purchase all the advertiser has to do is give this audience access to the products they want in a simple, effective and safe manner.

The blueprint is already there to follow, thank you eBay.

by James Milne, Account Manager at TradeDoubler

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James Milne

James Milne

As Head of Client Services for the UK I am responsible for the co-ordination of the the client se

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