Smartphones drive growth in UK ecommerce market

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Smartphones drove growth at UK retailers in the first three months of this year, according to new figures.

More than two thirds (67%) of visits to UK retailers came via a mobile phone in the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest Salesforce Shopping Index. While overall digital revenues grew by 10% during that period, orders from mobile grew by 25% and traffic by 17%. In the UK, mobile accounted for 40% of sales, desktop computers for 41% and tablets for 18%, according to the Salesforce analysis of business done via its platforms.

At 10%, that overall growth figure for UK ecommerce transactions lagged behind growth elsewhere: online sales grew by 14% in the in the first quarter, and by 15% around the world. The fastest growth rates detected by the Salesforce study, came from Australia and New Zealand (+35%), the Nordics (+30%) and Canada (+29%). At the same time, UK shoppers also saw discounting increase – by 38%. That’s the sharpest increase seen around the world.

Jamie Merrick, director, industry strategy and insights, at Salesforce Commerce Cloud, said it had been a positive start to the year despite chilly weather: “This has been fuelled by an increase in both digital traffic (6%) and shopper spend (4%) and indicates that UK shoppers are growing increasingly confident and are aware of the benefits of online shopping.”

He pointed to the continuing growth trend in mobile traffic and sales. “Q4 last year saw a 21% traffic increase from mobile and it’s a similar story in the first quarter of 2018 with UK mobile traffic growing 17% year on year and phones now accounting for 40% of all UK orders,” said Merrick. “In fact, looking at the global results, mobile use drove digital growth overall – a sign that shoppers worldwide prefer to use mobile devices to browse retail sites than computers and tablets. There’s no doubt that the rise of mobile is inexorable – both for general use and for shopping – and I expect it will account for a larger share of online orders throughout 2018 and beyond. For retailers, there’s an opportunity to take advantage of this consistent trend of mobile growth by prioritising ’mobile-first’ strategies, ranging from artificial intelligence and Apple Pay to Instagram integration.”

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