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A third of 2015’s online purchases will be mobile, report predicts

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A third of all online sales in the UK will take place via smartphones and tablets this year, predicts eMarketer, and by 2019 it will be closer to 40%.

eMarketer estimates that UK retail e-commerce sales will rise 14.5% this year to reach £60.36 billion ($99.39 billion), driven by an improving economy, shoppers’ increasing usage of mobile devices for making purchases and expanded options for purchase delivery. Indeed, digital will be the main driver of overall retail sales growth, and as a consequence, its share of total retail sales will increase to 14.4% in 2015.

This will place the UK atop the global rankings when it comes to ecommerce’s portion of total retail sales-No. 2 on the list will be China, with a 12.0% share, while the US will be well back at 7.1%.

Meanwhile, the growth trajectory for mcommerce sales is particularly steep, with a rise of 30.3% forecast this year. eMarketer predicts UK retail mcommerce sales will reach £19.92 billion ($32.80 billion) in 2015, and by 2019, that figure will climb to almost £37 billion ($60.93 billion).

“That mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the retail shopping habits of UK consumers is without question, be that via smartphone, phablet or tablet. What this demonstrates, though, is that digital shopping and buying long ago entered the mainstream for most UK consumers, and buying via mobile is just the next step. Indeed, device-agnostic buying, thanks to users’ familiarity with these various device types, is becoming the norm,” commented Bill Fisher, analyst at eMarketer.

Tablets are particularly significant for UK mcommerce sales growth. As more consumers have embraced these devices for lean-back browsing of potential purchases, retailers have made greater efforts to make sure their tablet retail sites and apps are particularly rich and responsive.

This year, eMarketer predicts, tablet retail mcommerce sales will hit £13.25 billion ($21.82 billion), or 66.5% of UK retail mcommerce sales overall. That’s up from 2013, when tablets took a 60.5% share of retail mcommerce sales.

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