Facebook Shares Interesting Insights on Consumer Mobile Buying Habits


In the last couple of years, the number of shoppers using mobile devices to make purchases during the holiday season has increased rapidly. If Facebook is to be believed, it promises to be no different this year.

According to a Facebook IQ article, the percentage of online purchasers transacting on a mobile device will rise by 30 percent this holiday season.

In the article, Helen Crossley, Facebook IQ’s Head of Consumer Insights Research, shares some interesting insights on how to succeed in mobile commerce.



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Basket Sizes on Mobile

For marketers, one of the biggest challenges is that the basket sizes on mobile devices are smaller than those on desktops and in-store. Crossley mentions that on an average and in aggregate, mobile basket sizes “are worth 60 cents to the dollar versus a desktop transaction, whereas a tablet transaction is worth $1.

She also explains several factors account for the smaller basket size on mobile phones. For example a large number of people who make mobile purchases don’t have access to tablets and desktops. Such buyers are likely to have less disposable incomes and spending power.

But what’s perhaps most interesting is a finding from an internal Facebook study that reveals when marketers control for people and the categories they’re buying from across devices, “smartphone and desktop sizes are actually on par.”

This is a useful insight because it tells us:

  • It’s not all about the size of the screen,
  • People who own a smartphone and a desktop are less likely to be mobile-dependent,
  • They are more likely to have higher disposable income and be tech-savvy.

Mobile Site vs. App

Deciding whether to go for a mobile site or an app often causes confusion among marketers. According to Facebook, 58 percent of mobile purchases are made on mobile sites, whereas 42 percent are on apps.

Further, there are fewer transactions on mobile sites and more on apps for frequent mobile shoppers.

To choose between mobile sites and apps, marketers need to ask themselves:

  • What is my primary goal?
  • Am I mainly concerned with customer acquisition?
  • Or do I want to drive frequency and loyalty?

Future of Mobile Commerce

Millennials are going to play a key role in driving mobile commerce growth. Crossley calls them the “Thumb Generation” and says they are going to conduct commerce related activities on their mobile devices more than the older generation.

There are also some interesting figures that support Crossley’s observation:

  • 83 percent of Millennials research products on their smartphone compared to 66 percent of Gen Xers (the Mouse generation) and 25 percent of Boomers (the Remote generation)
  • 69 percent of Millennials buy products on their smartphone compared to 53 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Boomers

Consumer mobile buying habits clearly indicate that M-commerce will gain further momentum in the coming years. The best way to harness its potential is to focus on people and offer solutions that they’re most interested in.

Facebook Photo via Shutterstock

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Shubhomita Bose


Shubhomita Bose Shubhomita Bose is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends. She covers key studies and surveys about the small business market, along with general small business news. She draws on 8 years of experience in copywriting, marketing and communications, having worked extensively on creating content for small and medium sized enterprises.

4 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    I think that a dedicated app is good and all as long as it is working well. if it is not, then you should have a mobile website so that people have a way to buy even if they are on their mobile gadgets.

  2. Both mobile site and app are required. Most people don’t want to install too many apps on their mobile and prefer using a mobile site.

    A good case is Flipkart had shut downed its mobile site 6 months back and redirected users to mobile app. only few percent of users installed the app. The remaining users just left the site and purchased in another shopping site. Later Flipkart realized that they are losing revenue and relaunched the mobile site.

    • Shubhomita Bose

      Very good example. I think for a consumer, downloading an app may not always be an option, especially when they are living in a developing country with poor net connectivity.

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    Do you buy stuff via your smartphone on the go? Or do wait until you are sitting at your desk, using a computer? How about a tablet?

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