Consumers less likely to complete purchases on mobile

New research shows that shoppers are less likely to go through with an online purchase if they are using a phone or tablet.

The findings come from a study conducted by the University of East Angelia and published in the Journal of Business Research which looked at why cart abandonment is much higher on mobile apps then desktop-based online shopping.

According to data from research Criteo, 46% of global ecommerce traffic come from mobile devices in Q2 2016. However, only 27% of these initiated purchases were completed.

Researchers from the university looked at online shopping data from Taiwan and the US. They found that consumers are much more likely to use mobile apps as a research and curation tool rather than a purchasing tool.

Our study results revealed a paradox,” said Dr Nikolaos Korfiatis, of Norwich Business School at UEA.

“Mobile shopping is supposed to make the process easier, and yet concerns about making the right choice, or about whether the site is secure enough leads to an ‘emotional ambivalence’ about the transaction – and that mean customers are much more likely to simply abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase.”


The study found that consumers often hesitate while making a purchase on their phone due to worries that they are not able to see the full picture. They think that the limited screen could mean that they are missing out on special offers or overlooking hidden costs.

There are also higher concerns about privacy and security when it comes to using a mobile.

Flora Huang, the study’s lead author, added:

“This is a phenomenon that has not been well researched, yet it represents a huge opportunity for retailers. Companies spend a lot of money on tactics such as pay-per-click advertising to bring consumers into online stores – but if those consumers come in via mobile apps and then are not finalising their purchases, a lot of that money will be wasted.”

The reports authors claim that the research shows that cart abandonment can be lowered if consumers are satisfied with the choice process. App designers can achieve this by minimising clutter, making sure the product categorisation is as simple as possible and making it easy for consumers to filter out products they do not want from searches.

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