clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

March Madness Spikes Mobile Shopping Numbers for Sports Apparel Site Fanatics

Sixty-six percent of sales of University of Kentucky team apparel happened on mobile devices last weekend.

Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Mobile commerce is here, and perhaps in a bigger way than most people realize.

The most recent example? The crazy percentage of mobile sales that Fanatics, a billion-dollar online seller of licensed sports apparel, saw last weekend during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Sixty-six percent of sales of team apparel for Kentucky, the favorite to win the tournament, happened on mobile devices last weekend, compared to 56 percent for the same weekend last year. The breakdown for mobile sales this year was 46 percent on smartphones and 20 percent on tablets.

And Kentucky wasn’t a one-off. Mobile sales of apparel for the other three winners from the weekend all topped 50 percent, with smartphone sales accounting for more than 30 percent of the total. In 2014, mobile commerce only accounted for 13 percent of total U.S. digital commerce, comScore estimated.

The fact that the big sales numbers are timed to a live sporting event makes sense, since people increasingly have phones or tablets with them while they are watching TV at home, at a friend’s house or in a bar. But the numbers are also a surefire signal to retailers that Americans are catching up with other parts of the world, where buying stuff on mobile phones is increasingly commonplace. As a result, those with well-designed mobile sites and apps with easy checkout processes are well positioned to take a bigger piece of the e-commerce pie.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.