As tablet and smartphone adoption continues to grow, mobile commerce is becoming increasingly relevant to online retailers.
The percentage of e-commerce sales via mobile devices grew from 2 percent in the second quarter of 2010 to 11 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. This increase was mainly caused by the rise of tablets in general and Apple's iPad in particular. While smartphones are often used to research prices while shopping in brick-and-mortar stores ("showrooming"), people have long been hesitant to make purchases on the relatively small screen. Tablets have erased that problem, offering enough screen real-estate to comfortably go through the entire purchasing process. The conversion rate on tablets is three time as high as it is on smartphones.
The rise of smartphones with 4.7-inch+ screens, often called "phablets", will likely further increase the mobile share of total e-commerce sales, as they combine the ubiquity of a phone with the screen-size, hence the comfort of a tablet.
Online retailers can no longer afford to ignore their mobile audiences and should recognize the growing importance of an attractive mobile presence.