2023’s Top 4 Mobile Commerce Trends

In the current fast-paced digital landscape, connecting with customers through their mobile devices has become a crucial aspect of any successful business strategy. 

The desire for mobile engagement is palpable, with consumers expressing a strong preference for mobile interactions. Increasingly, customers also want to be able to make purchases on their phones, which has spurred continuing growth in mobile commerce as a share of overall eCommerce?

So what are the top mCommerce trends for retailers to be aware of in 2023?

1. If you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re falling behind.

Being able to connect with customers on their mobile devices is no longer optional, it’s mandatory. In a survey by payment processor Square, a staggering 98% of consumers said they want to connect with businesses through their mobile devices!

There remains a gap between that expectation and businesses’ ability to meet it. But that gap is quickly closing — in a recent survey by partner Simpletext, 86% of businesses said they have used SMS to message customers in the last year. Meaning that if you’re part of the 14%, you’re in danger of being left behind.

One of the top mobile communication channels to stay on top of is SMS; nearly half of adults under 40 (40% of Gen Z and 41% of Millennials) say that SMS was their preferred method of communicating with businesses. Additionally, 71% of customers surveyed had subscribed to SMS messages from at least 1 business in the last year

2. Mobile shopping got a boost during the pandemic, and will continue to grow.

The pandemic fueled a spike in mCommerce’s share of eCommerce sales, which went from 37.7% in 2019 to 41% in 2020, and is predicted to reach 44% of eCommerce sales by 2025. Additionally, 30% of people surveyed said that they expect to shop more through their mobile devices in the next 12 months.

The pandemic also spurred huge growth in shopping apps. In 2019, there were 122.6 million shopping app users in the US alone. That number jumped to 155 million in 2022 — or 64.2% of US smartphone users 14+. By 2024, Insider Intelligence predicts more than 187 million active shopping app users. 

Given this rate of growth, it’s not surprising that time spent on shopping apps is also growing – increasing from 64.74 billion hours spent globally in 2019 to 100.46 billion hours in 2021!

3. Apps or mCommerce? This fight is still too close to call.

Even as use of shopping apps continues to grow, it looks as though we’ve passed the peak of overall app downloads; 2022 marked the first year where global app downloads were lower than the previous year (142.6 billion in 2022 compared to 143.6 billion in 2021).

Which is probably why despite continued growth in use of shopping apps, only a few companies look to be emerging as winners in this space. In May, there were only three retailers in the top 25 apps in the US: Amazon (#6), WalMart (#16), and upstart online-only retail company Temu (#19). In the United States, at least, the behemoth retailer dominates other retailers both in terms of reach and app downloads.

But do smartphone users prefer mobile sites or apps? Opinion is split almost 50/50. Those who prefer apps say they want to be able to get loyalty rewards like points for purchases, while those who prefer mobile sites say they don’t like having to download more apps.

4. Mobile. Experience. Matters.

It’s no secret that mobile shopping is usually a worse experience than shopping desktop, which is why mCommerce conversion rates have held steady at 2% since Q2 of 2021, as compared to between 3-4% on desktop. The top reasons for the gap? Security concerns (20.2%), trouble seeing product details (19.6%), navigation difficulties (19.3%), inability to browse across multiple screens (19.6%), difficulty inputting details (18.6%).

However, another common mobile shopping struggle is finding the most relevant products, no doubt why mobile users are 63% more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or shopping apps offer them (relevant!) product recommendations, and 58% reported feeling more positively toward companies whose mobile sites remembered their past behavior.

Yet despite the poor experience, data reported by SalesCycle shows that 75% of global eCommerce traffic happens on mobile — suggesting that mobile commerce sites are many people’s first stops for product research, which only further emphasizes the need for streamlined mobile shopping experiences.

Unify your in-store and online customer experience.