Apple Leads Amazon in Mobile Commerce Race

Apple iPhone
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Apple iPhone

Last week, comScore released data that should toss a wet blanket on the negative talk surrounding the shift from the desktop to mobile devices.

Because the numbers do not support the media’s hysterical story about mobile, you’re unlikely to see them make headlines. Of course, when Facebook falls or Zynga crashes, we get inundated with the same story from myriad sources.

It’s sad. If the media accurately reflects society, we have more patience with a 10-year-old occupation of Afghanistan than we do one of the most profound changes to impact the Internet.

Here’s the important part of what comScore reports:

  • Growth in e-commerce sales dwarfs the relatively meager uptick in brick-and-mortar sales (15 percent vs. 2 percent, respectively, in the second quarter of 2012).
  • In the second quarter of 2012, 9 percent of all e-commerce sales came via mobile device. Two years ago, that number was 2 percent. ComScore notes that the surge coincides with increased tablet ownership.
  • Tablet owners are more engaged in e-commerce than smartphone owners; 39 percent of tablet owners made a purchase via tablet in the last month compared to 18 percent of smartphone users. The same discrepancy exists between tablets and smartphones on the metrics for researching items and comparing prices.
  • On almost every metric related to mobile e-commerce actions, including purchases made, Apple iPad owners are far more engaged than users of’s Kindle Fire tablet.

It would be epic if Apple found a way to monetize this engagement even more than it already does. If I compete with, I form a consortium of a handful of retailers and get on the phone with Apple.

If Apple can box out other social networks in favor of deeper Twitter integration, there’s no reason why it cannot send a similar salvo Amazon’s way.

More important at this moment, as an Amazon bull and long-term Apple bear, are my concerns that: a) Amazon does not provide specifics on how it has monetized Kindle Fire in terms of e-commerce sales; and b) iPad owners appear more likely to buy something on their tablet than Kindle Fire adopters.

Amazon created the Kindle Fire as a conduit for shopping, yet iPad seems to accomplish the task with less overt effort. Of course, sales on iPads could come through the Amazon shopping app, but it’s still a concern.

In that regard, score one for Apple here, particularly if it can do more to monetize this impressive level of engagement.

—By Contributor Rocco Pendola

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At the time of publication, Rocco Pendola was long FB and ZNGA.