3 Seconds or Else: Survey Shows Mobile Performance May Make or Break Holiday Sales
November 21, 2013

Klaus Enzenhofer
Dynatrace

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Substantial adoption of mobile shopping can be expected during the upcoming 2013 holiday season, according to a new consumer survey from Compuware's Application Performance Management (APM) division, conducted with the help of Harris Interactive. The results also demonstrated how demanding mobile end-users are when it comes to the quality (speed and availability) of their mobile interactions.

This year, 49 percent of smartphone and tablet users intend to use their mobile devices to search for and/or buy gifts, and 36 percent plan to do more shopping via their devices this year than last.

The findings also show that performance of retailers’ mobile websites and native applications can have a major impact on bottom line success during peak shopping periods, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond.

The study surveyed 2,025 US adults age 18 and older, among which 1,191 are smartphone and/or tablet users, in advance of the holiday shopping season. The survey sheds light on what can be seen as increasingly widespread adoption of shopping via mobile devices, and how strong mobile application performance is becoming a must-have investment for retailers if they're going to keep up with holiday purchasing behaviors.

The rapid shift to mobile shopping may seem like no surprise, but the pace — 66 percent of 18-34 year old smartphone or tablet users saying they will be using their devices to shop on-line this holiday season — has retailers scrambling. Mobile applications have more variables, like carrier latency, signal strength and battery life to contend with. Also, many mobile applications are simply less mature and less tested than their classic web counterparts.

The winners in the battle for mobile shoppers this holiday season will be those who did the proper prior planning to assure their mobile applications are ready for the load and are proactively managed with the latest modern performance management technology.

Key findings from the survey highlight the importance of new generation APM:

Mobile Shopping Adoption: 49 percent of smartphone/tablet users intend to use their mobile devices to search for and/or buy gifts this year, with a remarkable 36 percent of users saying they will do more shopping in 2013 via their devices than last year.

Mobile Performance is Critical: A resounding 37 percent of smartphone/tablet users will abandon sales to shop elsewhere if a retailer's mobile site or mobile application doesn't load within three seconds. The number who will abandon sites rises to 45 percent for smartphone/tablet users aged 18 to 34. One second too long and they're lost to the competition.

Mobile Generation Leading the Way: The younger the buyer, the more likely he or she is to shop by smartphone or tablet. In fact, 66 percent of "Mobile Generation" (smartphone/tablet users age 18 to 34 years old) will search and/or buy via mobile devices this holiday season and 53 percent will do more holiday shopping on their smartphone/tablet this year than last year.

Barrier to Future Sales: Just one disappointed user is all it takes, as 29 percent of smartphone/tablet users who have a poor online shopping experience say they are likely to complain on social media. This means that disappointed users can cause substantial collateral damage to brand reputations through negative commentary and ratings.

Mobile Devices Pose a Complexity Challenge: Retailers need to factor multi-device usage into their online strategies and user experiences, as 36 percent of smartphone and tablet users will use more than one device to search for or purchase gifts this holiday season. So, e-commerce organizations will need to deliver seamless and intuitive experiences across a wide range of device types and mobile browsers.

Native Application Performance Will Be Essential: 34 percent of smartphone/tablet users will be using company-specific native applications this holiday season. This makes complexity challenges difficult as performance needs to be maintained across multiple application versions and platforms created for different devices.

The Compuware APM survey tangibly quantifies how quickly mobile shopping is gaining steam, and the stakes for not putting APM at the center of retailers' e-commerce strategies.

Klaus Enzenhofer is Technology Strategist, Compuware's Application Performance Management (APM) Business Unit.

Related Links:

Klaus Enzenhofer, Compuware Technology Strategist, Joins the APMdigest Vendor Forum

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