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Mobile vs Desktop Conversion Rates

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Last editedNov 20212 min read

Your ecommerce website is getting steady traffic. And that’s good! But your reach is by far from the only metric that matters for your ecommerce site. Indeed, many refer to reach as a vanity metric. Because while it may be reassuring to see lots of prospective customers arrive at your domain, clicks don’t pay your bills. This is why merchants need to keep a close eye on their conversion rates and employ conversion rate optimisation (CRO) to improve them. 

It’s important to note that a conversion doesn’t necessarily mean a sale. It may mean setting up a customer account, subscribing to your email newsletter, installing your app or sharing your product pages on social platforms. Anything that strengthens the prospect’s relationship with your brand could be considered a conversion. 

Mobile devices continue to drive the most traffic to online merchants. But, curiously, they do not boast the highest conversion rates. Here, we’ll look at the latest mobile vs desktop conversion rates, and what online retailers can learn from them. 

Ecommerce conversion rates in 2020

The pandemic provoked a huge surge in ecommerce sales last year as bricks and mortar stores shut their doors to customers. Despite this, in terms of mobile vs desktop traffic and conversions, rates were fairly congruent with the year before. 

Mobile vs desktop traffic

According to data from Monetate, 56.2% of ecommerce traffic came from mobile devices in 2019, with 34.5% coming from desktop. In 2020, traffic skewed even further towards mobile traffic, with 68% coming from mobile devices and 33% coming from desktop according to SaleCycle.

Mobile vs desktop sales

Mobile clearly led the pack when it came to driving traffic last year, but what was the proportion of mobile to desktop sales? Mobile payments lead the way here, as well – 56% of ecommerce sales were made with mobile devices, with desktop making up the remaining 44%. While mobile sales are certainly growing, they are not increasing as dramatically as traffic. 

Overall conversion rates by device

Remember, there’s more to conversion rates than sales. Thus, when we look at overall conversion rates, we can see that while people are happy to browse on their mobiles, they feel more comfortable committing to convert on their desktop computers or tablets. 

Conversion rate breakdowns are as follows:

  • Mobile: 1.81%

  • Desktop: 1.98%

  • Tablet: 2.92%

Why are conversion rates lower for mobile?

Despite commanding a larger share of traffic, add to cart rates declined on mobile devices in 2020, from 10.4% in the previous year to 8.96%. This is still higher than desktop (at 4.39%). But while customers seem happy to add to their cart on a mobile device, they’re largely waiting until they get home to pull the trigger. 

The main point of differentiation here appears to be the checkout process.  

How to improve mobile conversion rates

A lack of confidence in the efficacy and security of your mobile checkout could cost you conversions. Here are some tips to help you remove friction from the checkout process and improve your mobile conversion rates:

  • Auto-fill forms: This makes checking out faster and less laborious.

  • Allow customers to check out as a guest: Not everyone has the time or inclination to sign up.

  • Optimise your CTAs: A clear and compelling call to action can make a huge improvement to conversion rates.

  • Make product recommendations: A great way to upsell and improve mobile sales.

  • Allow a range of payment options: Make sure you support alternative options like digital wallets as well as credit and debit cards. 

We can help

If you’re interested in finding out more about mobile vs desktop conversion rates and CRO, then get in touch with our financial experts. Discover how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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