Hamburg-based secondary research organization yStats.com reports in its latest publication, “Asia-Pacific M-Commerce Snapshot 2014“, that growing adoption of smartphones and tablet computers is changing the way people shop online. Globally, and particularly in Asia-Pacific, traffic to retail sites through mobile browsers and apps is intensifying, and the variety of products purchased through mobile has widened.
Smartphones currently have higher penetration on global population than tablets, but tablet use is growing at a faster rate. Mobile retail applications are more popular on smartphones, while in access via tablets mobile browsing is prevalent. Tablets are a more suitable device for making large purchases on mobile. Smartphones, on the other hand are perfect for making on the go and quick purchases.
There are other peculiarities in mobile shopping, for example, app vs browser. Neither app nor mobile browser had a distinct advantage over the other in terms of frequency for mobile shopping in 2013. They are both equally important for mobile shopping, though in different ways. While browsers score higher over apps in terms of convenience, apps are better evaluated by consumers with regard to speed. Apps also capture different customer segments than browsers.
A new development, coming from Asia and spreading globally is the emerging power of messaging apps in M-Commerce. Japan’s E-Commerce giant Rakuten has seen mobile traffic to its website increase and has acquired a mobile messaging service. Meanwhile, South Korean online merchant Gmarket launched a new mobile shopping concept: a virtual store which combines online and offline shopping with mobile devices.
Moreover, in South Korea the number of online shoppers reached high above ten million, with social commerce and mobile shopping apps being especially popular. In Japan, a high double-digit share of mobile users shops via their devices. The number of mobile Internet users in China topped half a billion in 2013, with over a hundred million of them engaging in M-Commerce.