Nielsen: Amazon is most popular retail mobile website

Nielsen's latest report focuses on how smartphone owners are using their mobile devices for shopping, but especially the difference between using mobile retail apps or just visiting mobile versions of the online stores through a browser.

Amazon is arguably the most dominant online retail force right now, but a new report from Nielsen Wire argues that the Seattle-based enterprise is already winning the mobile retail shopping front.

Nielsen's latest report focuses on how smartphone owners are using their mobile devices for shopping, but especially the difference between using mobile retail apps or just visiting mobile versions of the online stores through a browser.

It's not much of a surprise that, so far, retail websites are more popular with consumers than retail apps. Perhaps consumers are still more accustomed to shopping in the browser (even if its on a smaller screen) combined with the fact that most retailers haven't produced a special app for iOS, Android and other mobile operating systems yet. (Or they're going with HTML5, which could be another debate entirely.)

Researchers collected data from 5,000 U.S. smartphone owners who volunteered to participate in Nielsen’s mobile research shows during the 2011 holiday season.

From those results, Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart covered nearly 60 percent of smartphone mobile retail traffic by December 2011. As seen in the graph below, Amazon was far above the competition all on its own.

There could be many explanations for this, and Nielsen covers some relevant statistics -- notably trends based on gender.

Amazon's dominance could also be attributed to the fact that it already caters to the mobile shopping crowd on as many fronts as possible, whether it be through a mobile browser or its own optimized app.

If these figures included tablet data as well, the results might be considerably different. Yet it's still very likely that Amazon would still be in the lead, especially thanks to the release of the Kindle Fire, which is basically an outlet for selling Amazon products all in itself.

Chart via Nielsen Wire

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