With the iPhone turning 10, how has mobile eCommerce changed in the last decade?

4 Minutes
Mark Gregory

With 78% of the UK adult population using the internet on the go using a mobile phone, mobile eCommerce is becoming a key element to a retailer’s overall business strategy.

In 2016 the UK’s retail sector generated £133bn online, that’s an increase of £18bn from 2015 and the trend doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. In fact, the largest increase in sales has come from mobile phones. So, what’s behind this increase?


An upgraded mobile landscape

Technology is improving exponentially, not only is the device tucked away in your pocket getting more sophisticated but the landscape it sits within is getting smarter.

The last 10 years has seen improved connectivity with more wide spread 3G & 4G connections.  We’ve also seen a huge increase in local authorities and businesses jumping on the free WI-FI bandwagon. Now, getting online quickly doesn’t need a second thought. Speed has also improved. You can now download large images and video examples in seconds making the customer experience much more engaging.

Remember the first iPhone? No we can’t either, but we do know how small the screen was. A measly 3.5” but with the iPhone 10, you’ve got a full 5.8” to shop with. This, along with improved quality has made it easier for people to shop and feel more informed. Customers can zoom in, see the product in context and even use AR to put a product in place through their phone’s camera, take a look at the IKEA Place App to see this in action.

Usability has seen a dramatic improvement too, no longer are businesses solely focusing on a desktop website, responsive sites are the new norm. Put simply, this means a site scales itself to the device it’s used on, with many businesses are even building mobile first websites, then adapting this to a desktop size. This has seen a dramatic improvement in engagement, customer conversion rates and drops in cart abandonment.

And of course, Social Media. People spend more time on Social apps than ever before and the opportunities for businesses to advertise in these apps is increasing too. Within one click you can now transport yourself from your Facebook feed to a product page on a retailers website.

Do people shop in the same way on different devices?

We see clear differences in the way people shop on different devices. Mobile users tend to know what they want, they have a specific item they’re after, they may be looking at it on the move and even comparing prices to a physical store they’re in. On the other hand, Laptop and Tablet users tend to be searching for items and looking into comparative products.

This needs to be taken into account when building your ecommerce website. Building your website in an SEO friendly way for both types of customer searches is something we strongly believe in.

laptop mouse with mobile phone

The future’s bright, the future’s mCommerce

So what’s next and what do you need to be doing to keep ahead of the game? Things such as improved security, quicker shipping and a more tech savvy population will aid the overall increase in eCommerce. But there are factors that will affect mCommerce specifically.

  • Remember when you had to wait 3-5 working days for your Amazon book to be delivered? Now we’re seeing companies offering same day delivery and this trend will only become more popular with improved fulfilment offerings and things such as the introduction of drone deliveries. So your future customers may be ordering from their mobile at lunch, knowing it’s going to be at their door when they get home.
  • It’s a much more tech savvy generation using your online stores and they like apps, a lot. 85% of smartphone user’s time is spent in apps, having your own app increases brand loyalty, improves engagement and improves your conversion rate.
  • Although it’s not wide spread at the moment, VR & AR (Virtual & Augmented Reality) will soon be the norm. Having a look at products on screen is great yes, but imagine holding, feeling and touching your next purchase before you’ve even hit add to cart!

It’s been an interesting 10 years, technology, mobile phones and eCommerce has changed beyond recognition and you would have been hard pressed to imagine the world we now live in. So strap yourself in, make sure you’re iPhones charged up because we’ve got another exciting 10 years ahead of us!