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£4 in every £10 spent over Christmas came from a mobile – but be warned its changing how people shop

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More than £4 of every £10 spent online over the festive shopping period came from a smartphone, according to Adobe‘s Digital Index report – matching the percentage seen in 2015, but of a much bigger pie.

The research shows that 60% of online traffic to UK retailers came from mobile between 1 November and 31 December, putting ahead of all other countries over the festive period for mobile commerce. The US saw £3.10 of every £10 and 50% of traffic from mobile, Germany £2.70 and 44%, and France £2.60 and 44%.

John Watton, EMEA marketing director, Adobe, explains: “Consumers’ desire to purchase items on mobile devices is clearly there. In an increasingly competitive retail market, it’s critical that retailers continue to personalise the shopping experience – across all devices and touchpoints – so that users are compelled to purchase more on their smartphones throughout the whole year.”

However, Adobe also warns that European retailers need to address the widening behavioural gap between shoppers’ mobile browsing and purchasing habits if they are to maintain consumer spending levels long term.

While overall internet traffic is flat at just 3%, smartphone traffic has increased by 54% over the year, taking share from desktops and tablets that fell by 7% and 8%, respectively. In terms of revenue growth, the average European website is performing well despite flat traffic, with an average rise of 13% over the last year. Unsurprisingly, smartphones are the main driver of growth, with device revenues surging 89%. Despite the declines in traffic, desktop revenue increased by 8% and tablet revenue was up by 10%.

Although the use of smartphones to visit retail websites is growing in Europe, this is yet to translate into an equal share of revenue. Smartphones account for 27% of traffic, but a disproportionately small share (12%) of total revenue.

Desktop, on the other hand, is more efficient at driving revenue, representing 58% of traffic on average but a larger 74% of revenue. This is an indication that online shoppers continue to turn back to desktops to complete transactions after browsing on mobile.

For those smartphone shoppers who do convert, there is still some reticence when it comes to spending big. ADI research found that average order values (AOV) in Europe are 20% below those on a desktop.

Failure to address this gap could have a major long-term impact on retail revenues, especially as smartphones become the primary driver of traffic.

“We’ve always known that retailers need to optimise the mobile experience to drive up conversion rates, but this adds another layer of complexity because smartphone users just aren’t spending as much,” said Becky Tasker, managing analyst at ADI.

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