Why Isn’t Mobile AOV Growing At The Same Rate As Mobile Search?

By Morgan Winbush in Mobile on July 20th, 2016

Why Isn’t Mobile AOV Growing At The Same Rate As Mobile Search?

In a day and age where we're seeing mobile searches surpass desktop, it's important to look at the back end metrics and understand how the growth in mobile is affecting the overall bottom line. In many cases, we see mobile having a lower average order value (AOV) than desktop or tablet. In fact one of our clients recently asked "With such growth in the mobile space, why isn't mobile AOV growing at the same rate?" 

Client A:

Retail average order value by device type

This client, "Client A" we'll call them, has a strong mobile presence, but the question was raised, "With such growth in the mobile space, why isn't mobile AOV growing at the same rate? Are you seeing this with other retail clients?" The answer is yes; we are seeing stronger AOV on desktop and tablet, as opposed to mobile devices. In Q1, Client A had a desktop AOV  that was 17% higher than mobile, while tablet leads across all devices. We theorize the higher AOV on tablet is likely due to convenience and a larger screen size. Tablet also offers the same privacy as mobile phones for personal online purchases (not the family laptop). 

Client B: 

Another client, (Client B) has less emphasis on mobile, so the weight of volume is found on desktop, as opposed to mobile, as we experience with Client A. With that, the data sets are not apples to apples, but we wanted to provide a comparison for retail performance. With Client B, we saw desktop AOV 25% higher than Mobile, yet desktop and tablet yielded similar results.

The gap between mobile AOV and desktop/tablet comes down to screen size. With a small screen, there are more steps needed to complete a purchase, smaller form fields, and the need to consider purchasing higher priced items on such a small device. In addition, the differences between the desktop and mobile buy-flow are stark. On mobile, live chats are unavailable and the "Better Together" section isn't visible when you’re adding a product to your cart, limiting the opportunities to upsell. These are all factors that could deter users from adding multiple items, or expensive items to their cart. eMarketer states, "while mobile devices have lower conversion rates and AOV when compared to desktop and tablet, mobile AOV grew faster than any other device YoY - though only slightly faster than tablet. While mobile lags behind from an AOV and CR standpoint, the trend is moving in an encouraging direction for all retailers hoping more purchases will be made on mobile at a higher average order value." To note, Client A’s Mobile AOV increased 6% from 2014 to 2015. However, when comparing Q1 2016 vs Q1 2015, we have not seen increases in mobile AOV. We hope to see mobile AOV grow this year with the launch of the mobile site redesign.

In summation, retail clients across the board are experiencing lower AOV on mobile than desktop and tablet, which is largely attributed to screen size and the variance between device buy-flows. Despite mobile AOV increasing YoY, the gap between devices will be an ongoing feat for advertisers if they are not continuously optimizing their mobile sites.

What's your gap between mobile & desktop AOV and how are you looking to combat it?

We can help.