Facebook’s Helen Crossley on the 3 Big Mobile-Commerce Questions

Mobile grabbed hold of the holiday shopping season in 2014, and there is no reason to believe that trend won’t continue this year.

Mobile grabbed hold of the holiday shopping season in 2014, and there is no reason to believe that trend won’t continue this year.

Helen Crossley (left in the photo), head of consumer insights research for Facebook IQ, spoke with the social network’s direct-response product marketing director, Kelly Graziadei (right), in search of answers to the three most common questions about successful mobile commerce:

  1. How can I increase mobile basket sizes?
  2. Should I invest in an m-site or an application?
  3. What should I expect in the future in terms of m-commerce?

The entire conversation can be found here, and highlights from Crossley’s answers follow:

We found that mobile basket sizes, on average and in aggregate, are worth 60 cents to the dollar versus a desktop transaction, whereas a tablet transaction, on average, is worth $1 (the same) versus a desktop transaction.

Several different factors account for the lower basket size on mobile phones. For instance, there’s a good number of people who buy on mobile phones who don’t have daily access to tablets and desktops, so they’re likely to have less disposable income and are probably spending less. There are also a good number of quick, low-consideration transactions that are happening on mobile phones that would be lower in basket size no matter where people purchase.

Given that the basket sizes of people who buy on both smartphones and desktop computers from the same stores are on par when controlled for the categories they are purchasing from, we know it’s not about the size of the screen. People who own both a smartphone and a desktop are less likely to be mobile-dependent and more likely to have more disposable income and be tech-savvy.

If someone is a frequent shopper, they’re more likely to be an in-app shopper. If someone is coming to a retailer for the first time or only buy once in a while, they’re more likely to be an m-site shopper.

AppsDriveFrequency

What that means is that, while m-sites tend to attract larger purchases, those purchases are less frequent. And while apps attract smaller purchases, those purchases are more frequent—and possibly just as lucrative, if not more lucrative, over the long term.

Millennials, who make up the “Thumb Generation” that grew up swiping their thumbs across screens, are going to continue to drive this growth. The Thumb Generation is more likely to conduct commerce-related activities on their mobile devices than the older generations who came of age exerting control through a mouse or a remote. For instance, 83 percent of millennials research products on their smartphone compared to 66 percent of Gen Xers (the “Mouse Generation”) and 25% of baby 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.

ThumbGeneration

Readers: What did you think of Crossley’s insights?