One in three of all UK online sales are now made on a mobile device, according to the latest results from the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking (Q4 2013/4).
In the period November 2013 to January 2014, m-retail accounted for 32% of online sales – 6% were via smartphones, while tablet devices were used for 26% of e-retail sales during the quarter.
This compares with 27% overall m-retail penetration in the previous quarter and represents 18% growth between Q3 and Q4. Visits to e-retail websites via mobile devices also increased and now account for 45% of traffic.
Significantly, online clothing and fashion retailers have a higher mobile commerce penetration rate, with 36% of sales completed via smartphones and tablets during the fourth quarter. Mobile visits to apparel website also reached a tipping point with over half of traffic now coming via mobile devices.
Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, explains: “With an estimated 12 million tablet devices sold in the UK alone last year, and 70% of UK consumers now owning a smartphone, it is not surprising that the penetration of mobile commerce has reached a third of the UK online retail market. In fact, the latest Quarterly Benchmarking results reveal the penetration of m-retail has surged 2,000% in just three years.
“Consumer confidence in mobile continues to increase and improvements in mobile optimisation and the user experience are certainly factors in this. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2014, with visits set to surpass desktop usage over the coming months”.
Chris Webster, Head of Retail, Capgemini says: “As these results clearly demonstrate, retailers have been hugely successful in encouraging consumers to adopt mobile devices as a shopping platform. This is thanks, in no small part, to the significant investments that have been made to m-commerce sites which are now more intuitive and user friendly than ever before. This has helped ensure customers not only use the sites to browse but make purchases from them too, thereby reducing visitor bounce rates.
“However, there are some challenges that remain. As our shopping behaviours shift from a traditional e-retail model to mobile, retailers will need to overcome the consistently high basket abandonment rates, as well as the significant number of items that are returned. So while enormous strides have been made, opportunities to materially improve performance remain.”
The benchmark also found that Click & Collect rates fell slightly from a record level of 19% in Q3 to 16% in Q4, while returns remained unchanged at 17%.
This is backed up anecdotally by clothes retailer Moss Bros. Neil Sansom, Ecommerce Director tells us: “It was definitely a mobile and click and collect Christmas and sale period for Moss Bros. We saw our first suit sold online on Christmas Day at 10am on a tablet, probably a present opened that day. Mobile now is as important as the full website version and we are now optimising the customer journey on both tablet and other mobile devices. Click and collect also played an important part as customers look for more flexibility and convenience in delivery offers and order closer to big occasions like Christmas”.