Is Mobile Shopping Just a Passing Trend?

Many reports have been written about how shopping and other industries are going increasingly mobile, and we looked at this trend over the course of 2015 to discover several major increases. Furthermore, we recently released two studies on the overall state of mobile web in the USA and UK and discovered many interesting mobile trends. As 2016 rolls in, we re-examined the mobile shopping trend to determine whether this phenomenon is a passing trend and how aware retailers need to be about changes in the industry.

For this study, we looked at 25 of the top shopping websites in 7 countries: USA, UK, Brazil, Russia, France, Germany, and India. These shopping sites are all websites which sell directly to customers online and for the purpose of the study, we omitted online coupon sites. As of January 2016, 3 of these 7 countries had the majority of their online shopping visits come from mobile devices, while 4 remain were majority desktop. On mobile, the UK led the way with 65% of shopping traffic coming from mobile, and the USA and India join as the only other countries over 50% mobile. On the other end, Russia lags far behind at only 23% mobile and Brazil and France are also still very much majority desktop. Lastly, Germany has become 48% mobile and is close to eclipsing the 50% mark.


The numbers above only tell one side of the story and when trying to discover mobile shopping trends, it’s crucial to compare the change year over year (YoY). In this case, we compared the mobile percent share of shopping sites in January 2015 and January 2016, focusing on the percent change. For example, in January 2015, 35% of Brazil’s shopping visits came via mobile, but that number actually shrunk to 33% in 2016, a decrease of -5%. However, Brazil was not the only country to see its mobile share shrink, as this trend also held true for the USA, UK, and France. In contrast, Russia, Germany, and India, actually grew their mobile share, all by 10% or more. India’s mobile share grew the most, jumping from 40% in January 2015 to 52% in January 2016.


Nowhere is this negative trend in mobile shopping more prevalent than when looking at mobile pages per visit, comparing 2015 to 2016. For a shopping site, a higher number of pages per visit means that the user is more engaged, browsing more items, and more likely to convert, and this metric is key for e-retail marketers. In 5 of the 7 countries examined mobile pages per visit is down and only the UK and Germany saw gains in this key metric. India was hit the worst and in 2015, the average Indian shopper viewed 6 pages per visit, but that number decreased to 4.7 in 2016, a significant drop of -22%.


In contrast to mobile, pages per visit to shopping sites on desktop is actually way up since last January. In all 7 countries, users viewed more pages on desktop in 2016 and India proved to be the biggest winner. In 2015, the average Indian shopper viewed 5.7 pages per visit to shopping site on desktop, and in 2016 this number skyrocketed to 12.1. Germany also saw major gains in this department moving from 10.2 pages per visit to 16.8, an increase of 64%. Russia had the smallest change, and moved from 9.4 to 10 pages per visit, an increase of 6%.

desktop ppv yoy


Though in some cases, mobile shopping is in a downward trend, several of the top shopping sites in this study relied heavily on mobile web traffic. In the UK, for example, 8 of the shopping sites examined were over 70% mobile. These sites include,, and India had 2 shopping sites that were over 70% mobile- and– and also 14 other sites that were 50% or more mobile.  In the US, only one site was over 70% mobile, that being which received 70% of its 27,280,000 US visits from mobile devices. Germany had 3 sites that were over 60% mobile-,, and, all of which had better engagement metrics on desktop when compared to mobile. In Brazil, Russia, and France, no individual website was over 50% mobile, and again all sites performed better on desktop in 3 key metrics: pages per visit, time on site, and bounce rate. This discrepancy in engagement stats on mobile vs desktop can be seen clearly in the 3 charts below:
ppv mobile vs desktop time on site desk bs mobile

bounce desk vs mobile
Though mobile shopping is on a mostly downward trend since January 2015, online retailers need to be aware that if their site isn’t mobile optimized, their customers may seek out a competitor and find a mobile site more to their liking. In the UK and Germany, mobile engagement is up for shopping sites and mobile share is up in Russia, Germany, and India. For these retailers and countries that already receive heavy mobile traffic, the challenge then becomes how to best engage with their mobile users and make sure they remain on site and purchase their goods. In this struggle, SimilarWeb can be used to find new mobile opportunities and to discover the mobile strategy of any website’s competitors.

About the Author -

Pavel Tuchinsky is a marketing analyst and blog editor at SimilarWeb. He came from the world of International Economics, passionate fan of e-commerce and technology.

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