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The Growing Importance of Mobile Video in Retail

June 21st, 2018

Mary Meeker’s recent Internet Trends 2018 report shows that many U.S. consumers view YouTube before purchasing products. The report also emphasizes that product and price discovery are often video-enabled. As our attention spans decrease and multiple platforms compete to grab our attention, this has important implications for retailers and consumer brands.

Looking at Mary Meeker’s report at a macro-scale, it is important to note that there has been a 4 percent increase in U.S. Digital Media users during 2017. Between desktops, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and other types of devices, Americans tend to spend around six hours per day consuming digital media. Having said this, the most glaring number is the 3.3 hours of usage solely dedicated to mobile devices. This is due to mobile devices being faster, cheaper and more accessible in comparison to their counterparts.

With Wi-Fi adoption rising and wireless bandwidth improving, it’s easy to see why consumers are turning to watch video content on their mobile devices anywhere, anytime rather than on their desktops. According to her study, Meeker saw a gargantuan increase in people watching videos on their phones or tablets in a span of five years. In 2012, mobile users viewed videos around five minutes per day on their devices. While last year, views were almost six times higher per day (30 minutes) and she’s estimating an increase of around another five minutes in 2018.

Mobile shopping sessions are also rising fast, jumping 54 percent from 2016 to 2017, which is an impressive feat considering that the average growth of other session usages like music, news, sports and games was only 6 percent.

Yet, to get consumers interested in your product, one must first understand that product discovery is often video-enabled. A study by Think by Google shows that four out of every 10 consumers tend to visit websites like YouTube to see a product they're interested being used live, get reviews from people like them and even form an emotional attachment to the product through shop-with-me videos.

Video has become a great tool for retailers to showcase their products by showing all product features with high-quality footage, presenting all the information in an easy way to digest. When retailers use video effectively, they can turn a potential shopper into a buyer. It is thus increasingly important for retailers to take a strategic approach to their own content, focusing on a mobile-first, video-rich experience.

To succeed in this environment, retailers need to adjust their strategy accordingly, and make sure their infrastructure is able to support it. Retailers need to incorporate much more video into their experience, and make sure experience is optimized for any platform or device the customer prefers. The payoff, however, is significant.

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