February 6, 2023 juzarraga

Mobile’s influence on digital commerce soars, study finds

Dive Brief:

  • Digital commerce spend exceeded $1 trillion in 2022, a 21% year-over-year (YoY) increase, according to Comscore’s 2023 State of Digital Commerce Report. The total marks the highest year of digital commerce ever.
  • Mobile also commanded nearly 40% of digital consumer retail spend in Q4, and spend on mobile devices exceeded that of desktop devices, growing 26% and 14% YoY in the same period, respectively.
  • Social commerce also demonstrates a growing influence within the retail ecosystem. Sponsored content by retailers experienced higher consumer engagement across Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

Dive Insight:

Less than a decade after its introduction as a tracking measurement for Comscore’s digital commerce trends, mobile finds itself commanding nearly half of all digital transactions in Q4, indicating that convenience is a major driver of consumer shopping behavior. 

Further proof of its influence, mobile’s share of digital spend also grew among the fastest-growing digital commerce categories. For instance, event ticket sales were up 75% YoY, with mobile accounting for 88% of the category’s digital spending in Q4. Mobile also accounted for roughly 38% of the total retail category in Q4.

The data demonstrates the pandemic’s influence over digital commerce as well. In 2020, spending was at just over $705 billion. In 2021, that number had grown to $904 billion, and in 2022, it crossed the $1 trillion mark. 

“That level of growth previously took four years to achieve,” said Ian Essling, senior director of survey insights at Comscore, in a release

Seamless, convenient online purchasing also seems to be driving social commerce gains. According to Comscore’s report, engagement with content sponsored by retailers and CPG brands grew 153% on Facebook and 175% on Instagram to 27.2 million and 149 million actions, respectively, between Q3 and Q4 2022. Moreover, TikTok has seen tremendous growth, with views of retail and CPG content reaching 12.1 billion views in 2022, up 407% from 2020’s 2.4 billion views.

The question remains, however, whether platforms can turn that interest into something actionable. While Accenture has projected social commerce will grow to $1.2 trillion by 2025, most platforms and their strategies are in the touch-and-go stage. Instagram recently announced it would remove the Shop tab from its in-app navigation bar this month, instead adding shortcuts to facilitate content creation and consumption. Similarly, Instagram’s Meta sibling Facebook ended its live shopping feature last September. On the other hand, TikTok is reportedly making plans to build product fulfillment centers in the U.S. to further develop its social commerce capabilities.

By Aaron Baar