In what’s been described as a “major digital tipping point”, new research has revealed that more than half of online sales in the UK are now made through mobile devices.
The IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report found that smartphones and tablets accounted for 51% of UK online retail sales between November 2015 and January 2016 — up from 45% in the prior quarter and 40% in the same quarter a year earlier.
Consumers are also increasingly using their smartphones and tablets to browse retail websites. The study showed that visits to retail websites via mobile devices accounted for two-thirds (66%) of traffic in the fourth quarter, up from 63% in the previous quarter and 53% in fourth quarter last year.
Reporting on the findings, IMRG said that this leap in mobile penetration seems to be driven by consumers’ growing confidence in using smartphones for online shopping. Sales growth through these devices rose sharply in 2015, while growth through tablets slowed down, reaching a record low in December 2015.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, explained: “Smartphones have played an important role in the overall online shopping process for a long time — often used for research and comparison on the go — but over the past year they have really started to become a major component of the checkout process too and that is what is driving this leap in mobile penetration. In January sales via smartphones grew 95.6% year-on-year for example — over 7x the rate of those via tablets.”
This growth is thought to be primarily related to the design trend for larger screens, but retailers have also played a part, Spooner said, with significant improvements to many mobile retail sites giving a far better experience and inspiring confidence in shoppers.
“There is also the fact that we increasingly use our smartphones for managing so much of our lives — it’s only logical that completing purchases on retail sites would gravitate over to these devices as well,” Spooner added.
Richard Tremellen, retail insight and data specialist at Capgemini, also highlighted retailers’ efforts to improve the customer experience on smartphones.
“Not only have mobile platforms become more secure, but the payment process is also much slicker. The result is smartphone conversion rates that are 70-80% higher than this time last year,” he said.
Tremellen went on to predict that the growth in smartphone sales would continue.
“The figures illustrate that retailers have well and truly embraced the potential that the mobile channel can offer in reaching customers, and given that mobile advertising and geo-location marketing are yet to hit maturity, you feel there is more growth to come.”
Tags: Digital entertainment