As the holiday shopping period approaches, several new studies point to the fact that small and medium-sized U.S. businesses (SMBs) remain woefully unprepared to attract and engage customers via their mobile devices. An SMB DigitalScape study released by vSplash learned that 98% of SMBs still do not have mobile-optimized sites. The study was based on an analysis of two million small business websites.
A second study, commissioned by Google (and conducted by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger), found that three-quarters of visitors to a mobile-friendly site will return to that site, while 79% of people who find a site difficult to use on their mobile device will give up and look for another site. The Google study also found that 48% of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that's not mobile-friendly.
"Every industry study we're seeing points to a very robust use of smartphones and tablets for holiday shopping this year," noted Ben Seslija, CEO of bMobilized, a New York startup whose technology instantly converts any website into an advanced, customizable mobile site. "Most small and medium-sized business owners, especially retailers, are simply unaware that sophisticated turn-key solutions now exist in the marketplace. These new do-it-yourself services eliminate the high cost and technological complexity that have historically prevented SMBs from building mobile sites that look and work great on any device, OS or browser."
Another newly released study from ComScore, conducted in July, found that four in five smartphone users - 85.9 million in total - accessed retail content on their device. This figure does not include tablets like the iPad or Chromebook. Ironically, in spite of the low percentage of mobile-optimized small business sites, a new Borrell Survey of over 1,300 SMBs found that 72% will either maintain or increase their mobile advertising spending over the next twelve months.
Finally, a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research provides a wake-up call to businesses without mobile-friendly sites. Last year consumers spent more than $20.7 billion shopping using mobile devices, with approximately $5 billion of mobile purchases made through tablets. The number of people owning tablets is expected to more than double within the next three years.
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