The 80-20 Rule in Mobile Commerce

by Chuck Martin on June 2, 2013

By Chuck Martin

A new look at mobile power users finds that they spend a disproportionate amount of time using apps compared to average users.

For purposes of the data analysis by SessionM, power users were defined as the third of people responsible for the most in-app actions on the company’s rewards-based network.

These power uses accounted for most (78%) of the total time spent in apps.

This reminds me of the old 80-20 rule, where 80 percent of a given activity is done by 20 percent of the people, among various other iterations.

This makes me wonder if mobile commerce is now at the 80-20 stage, where 20 percent of the high-level activity is being done by a relatively small percentage of users.

We do know from various research reports that a large percentage of mobile users at least try different things.

For example, more than half (52%) of consumers used a mobile device to book travel in the last 90 days, according to a recent report from JiWire.

Another study found that a large percentage (85%) of smartphone owners use their mobile device to compare information about companies, products and pricing before making a purchase. The research by Kentico also found that mobile users have a low threshold for satisfaction, with 44% saying they wouldn’t return to a website that wasn’t mobile-optimized.

But many of the studies around mobile commerce tend to measure what is done on the device but not necessarily how frequently.

As a result, a study might show that a large percentage of people have, say, shopped using a mobile device but not necessarily if it has become part of their regular behavior.

There clearly are many power users in the market (and you know who you are), who leverage mobile to the max. They scan for price matching, tap into deals based on location and download and delete apps to suit current needs and desires.

They continually see and extract the value from their smartphone and tablet. And then there is everybody else.

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