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Gear4Music sees its customers shift to mobile

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Gear4Music showed a marked shift to mobile in its latest half-year results, with 65% of visitors to its website doing so via mobile – up from 52% a year earlier. At the same time, the number of people visiting from mobile devices grew by 66%, while total online visitors grew by 33%. 

The online retailer of musical instruments and equipment, ranked Top250 in IRUK Top500 research, said that shift to mobile meant that conversion rates dropped for the first time, to 3% from 3.2% a year earlier. Conversion in the UK market along improved to 4.8% from 4.6%, while European conversion fell to 2.1% from 2.2%. Mobile conversion was flat at 2%. The retailer said that mobile website development would be an “important focus area for us going forward”.

Gear4Music also said it was making progress in investing in its operational infrastructure and focusing on making profitable sales – after profitability was hit last Christmas as its warehouse reached full capacity and the cost of distribution rose

The update came as Gear4Music said it turned over revenue of £49.4m in the six months to September 30, up by 16% on the same time last year. Pre-tax losses came in at £0.2m after exceptional costs of £0.5m related investment into back-end systems for its ecommerce platform and upgrades to its warehouse and distribution as well as its returns system. They were down from pre-tax losses of £0.5m at the same time last year. In 2020, the retailer plans to move back to growth-focused projects. 

Website visitor numbers were 33% ahead at 13.4m, of whom 8.7m visited via a mobile devices. That’s up by 66% on the same time last year. The retailer served 348,000 customers in the period, up by 27% on last year.

Gear4Music chief executive Andrew Wass said: “Having grown our revenues by more than 350% over the last four years, our recent focus has been on ensuring that our operational infrastructure is able to keep pace with our increased scale, and I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the period in further developing our back-end systems and logistics platform.

“Having made these improvements, we expect to rebalance our development resources back towards growth oriented projects from next year, which alongside further systems improvements we are confident will deliver long-term growth in profits and revenues.

“As we approach the Christmas trading period, we will remain focused on improving profitability rather than driving growth in market share, particularly in the UK where the market remains highly competitive.”

Gear4Music delivers to more than 190 countries from its websites and operates showrooms and distribution centres in York, Sweden and Germany. 

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