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Mobile is Now the Primary Way People Shop Online

10 September 2014 by Daniel Lewis

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Last month, for the very first time, more shoppers used mobile devices to browse online than desktop computers.

Shopify looked at data from 100,000 of its stores and found that 50.3% of traffic came from mobile (40.3% from mobile phones and 10% from tablets) and 49.7% from laptops and desktop computers.

This tipping point has long been predicted by industry experts, who viewed the rise of mobile usage as inexorable.

"Fuelled by social media"

Consumer habits have changed markedly over the last 10 years, many of which explain the rise in eCommerce traffic coming from mobile sources. 

And much of this mobile traffic is coming from social media. More than 1 in 7 of the world’s population (1.2 billion) check their Facebook account every day, and Twitter says that is has 232m monthly active users. Shopify found that 7% of all of its traffic came from mobile Facebook users, compared to just 5% who visited from Facebook on a desktop.

Customers buying different products

In contrast, only 12% of mobile traffic came from search, compared to 18% of desktop traffic. Shopify said that users were shopping on desktops for planned ‘commodity’ goods like washing machines, computers and phones, while social referrals were far more likely to result in customers buying impulsively on goods they hadn’t considered before.

Furthermore, its study backed up the frequent assertion that mobile is primarily used as a research tool. It’s common for customers to later buy on desktop devices after having weighed up their options on mobile, because the checkout process on mobile phones is still overtly complicated.

Shopify said that complicated checkouts were a “very solvable issue” and that later this month it should release a checkout that was completely mobile responsive. In other words, watch this space.

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Talk to expert developers at TheGenieLab today. We specialise in building responsive and attractive websites that optimise users’ online experience and deliver value for money. Ask us how today – chat with us below or email

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