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  • Mobile traffic at an all-time high across Europe
  • Leading UK brands first to reach digital tipping point, with smartphones taking 50% share of traffic
  • Financial services brands take 53% share of mobile traffic, the largest recorded

New data from Adobe Analytics Cloud reveals that marketers have never been better at delivering mobile experiences, as the smartphone becomes the device of choice for most activities. Across Europe, whilst desktop share of browser visits still dominates, it is on the decline in every country and industry as mobile continues to take its share.

These are the main findings of the Adobe Digital Insights (ADI)Europe Best of the Best 2016 Report, which leverages Adobe Analytics Cloud data to analyse the online performance of the top 20% of companies using Adobe Experience Cloud, plus a survey of over 5,000 consumers across Europe about their online habits.

Who’s winning the mobile traffic? 

For the top-performing companies, an average of two-fifths of web traffic (41%) came via a smartphone in 2016. This is up substantially from 2015, where mobile accounted for a third of traffic (32%). These companies are also outpacing their peers by an average of 32% when it comes to mobile traffic. But British Best of the Best brands are leading the pack; on average across industries, mobile takes exactly half of browser visits.

In terms of the top 20% of companies, financial services has made the most progress – with 53% of online visits coming from a smartphone – followed by media and entertainment (52%), and retail (46%).

Taking an industry-wide glance, smartphones accounted for a third of European web visits (31%) in 2016. This marks an increase from 2015 where smartphones took a 22% stake. In comparison, desktop accounted for three-fifths of browser traffic (58%), down from 65% in 2015.

Smartphones are consumer’s preferred device 

The insights from Adobe Analytics Cloud come at a time when consumers have never wanted more from mobile experiences. When surveyed about their favourite devices, over half of consumers (57%) preferred to use a smartphone over other devices when completing tasks in 2016, up from 51% in 2015.

For every online activity, smartphones have gained in popularity in the last year, with the biggest mobile-first tasks being checking directions – where three quarters of consumers (73%) use a smartphone – followed by reading and replying to email (70%) and checking social media accounts (65%). Online shopping has made the biggest strides; only a third (37%) named eCommerce as a mobile first activity in 2015, which increased to nearly half (45%) in 2016.

“From checking their bank balances to their inboxes, smartphones are now the go-to device. Best of the Best brands are starting to take the lion’s share of mobile web traffic, but there’s more progress to be made. Brands should look to the financial services and retail industries, where the balance has been tipped, and embody their investment in building engaging, compelling mobile experiences”, David Burnand, Enterprise Marketing Director, Adobe EMEA commented.

The desktop contradiction 

Despite mobile being the device of choice, the dominance of desktop traffic shows that there is a disconnect between what consumers want and what they actually do. Two thirds of consumers (64%) say mobile browsing is worse than desktop, and in response, over half of consumers (55%) report switching to one of the other 6.1 connected devices they own to complete tasks.

Adobe Analytics Cloud data also found that marketers are still struggling to make captive mobile audiences stay. Time spent on mobile sites is decreasing; 6.1 seconds on average were recorded in 2015, decreasing marginally to 5.9 seconds in 2016.

Stickiness – the percentage of traffic that stays and engages – remains higher on desktop than mobile; 34% of mobile browsers stay on a site after arrival (52% for Best of the Best brands), which rises to 46% on desktop (67% for Best of the Best brands). What’s more, desktop still leads the way when it comes to conversion rates; 2.4% of visitors make a purchase on desktop (rising to 4.4% for Best of the Best brands) whereas only 0.75% of smartphone visits result in a sale (1.4% for Best of the Best brands).

When asked about their biggest mobile browsing turn-offs, half of consumers (47%) cite slow mobile experiences as a frustration, two-fifths (40%) find smaller screens problematic, while a third (37%) find poor web design an annoyance.

“If the mobile experience doesn’t stack up, consumers will switch to a desktop site, or a competitor that offers a better experience,” continues Burnand. “While mobile traffic continues to grow, the desktop experience still matters hugely. Adobe Analytics Cloud data shows that businesses must delight consumers across channels to capture share of attention, and wallet. The experience must be fluid across devices; consumers don’t want to know a brand one way on mobile and in another on desktop. They want a unified experience, and they want brands to have a singular view of them too. 

Adobe Digital Insights: Best of the Best Methodology

The Best of the Best 2016 report refers to companies using the Adobe Marketing Cloud who rank in the Top 20% of fellow Adobe clients in their industry on various key performance metrics. It is called the Best of the Best because Adobe Marketing Cloud customers are already ahead of the masses through their investment in excellence.

The ADI consists of aggregated and anonymous data from 100 billion visits to 3,000+ websites in Europe during the 2016 calendar year gathered via Adobe Analytics and Adobe Social. Country averages are based on the industries analysed.

Consumer Research Methodology

Between 4-15 May, we talked to over 1000 consumers in each of the five EMEA countries (UK, France, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands) about what devices they own and how they use these devices throughout their daily activities. We also touched on topics such as social media use and what drives their mobile behavior, to better understand the trends we see in the Best of the Best data.