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Ecommerce evolution at a tipping point, with mobile now behind all online growth: new analysis

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Ecommerce appears to have reached a tipping point, as new figures suggest that mobile devices are now behind all online sales growth.

Analysis from etail trade association IMRG and Capgemini has found that sales via desktop have flatlined, with all online growth now coming as a result of sales through mobile devices.

The two partners, which together produce the monthly IMRG-Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, have for the first time stripped out all the mobile data from its overall online sales data. They found ecommerce growth, excluding transactions made via mobile, has been steadily declining for the last two years, since the first quarter of 2011. In the second quarter of 2013 it flatlined altogether. By that point, mobile devices accounted for 23% of all online retail sales.

IMRG and Capgemini are now raising their forecast for online sales in 2013 to 15% growth, thanks to the fast growth of mobile commerce.

The two believe that tablets and smartphones have opened online shopping up to more people since both are more affordable than laptops. At the same time, shoppers are using tablets while also watching the television, and becoming more confident in m-retail as the experience improves.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG , says the figures provide clear evidence of changing behaviour. “Online retail is a sector that sometimes receives a strong boost from supporting technology and mobile is certainly providing that at the moment,” she said.

“The latest findings, together with the continuing trend of triple-digit growth in mobile commerce, provide clear evidence of a culture change in digital shopping. Smartphones and tablets offer the kind of experience the modern consumers wants – quick access, wherever and whenever they want it. Second screening in front of the TV has turned online shopping into a leisure activity that is fully compatible with our home entertainment lifestyles.”

Chris Webster, head of retail and technology at Capgemini , said: “As e-retail becomes ubiquitous, the annual growth in the index has been slowly declining – 18% in 2010, 16% in 2011 and 14% in 2012. However, similar to the impact the introduction of broadband had on the index in 2006, the access to new technology and connectivity has supported an increase in the rate of growth once again. However, we are still only scratching the surface of they ways we will use mobile devices to interact with digital services in our daily lives. Finger print identification available on the latest smartphones will increase trust and personalisation of these digital services.”

Commenting on the findings, Neil Sansom, ecommerce director at Moss Bros said: “The growth figures emphasise the important of mobile commerce now and going forward. The days of just optimising full version sites are over and retailers are now going to have find new levels of skill to optimise mobile as part of the customer journey.

“Tracking journeys across multiple devices and giving customers relevant content will be a new exciting challenge for Ecommerce and it is sure to be the next frontier for retailers to embrace.”

Kate Smyth, director of ecommerce at Dune, said: “The findings from the IMRG study completely agree with what we have been seeing at Dune, mobile and tablets are becoming the dominant devices used to interact with a brand online.

“Mobile has been our priority for a while and the possibilities are really exciting. We have a mobile version of the site, developed content designed for touch and we use mobile technology in store to help locate stock and reduce queues – but the roadmap for mobile and tablets is key as the devices become part of every household.”

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