Paul Skeldon our mobile Editor; comments on fast changing mobile channel.
A major digital tipping point has been reached – with the percentage of UK online retail sales made through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) exceeding 50% for the first time in Q4 2015/16, according to figures from IMRG.
Smartphones and tablets accounted for 51% of UK online retail sales in Q4, which was a substantial increase on the 45% recorded in Q3 – and up from 40% in Q4 last year. The percentage split of total UK online sales between the types of channel for Q4 2015/16 was:
z Desktop / laptop – 49%
z Tablets – 33%
z Smartphones – 18%
Visits to retail websites via mobile devices accounted for two-thirds (66%) of traffic in Q4, up from 63% in the previous quarter. This compares with 53% in Q4 last year.
This leap in mobile penetration appears to be being driven by increased confidence in using smartphones for online shopping. Sales growth through these devices rose sharply in 2015, while growth through tablets reached a record low in December 2015.
Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer, IMRG explains: “Smartphones have played an important role in the overall online shopping process for a long time – often used for research and comparison on the go – but over the past year they have really started to become a major component of the checkout process too and that is what is driving this leap in mobile penetration. In January, sales via smartphones grew 95.6% year-on-year for example – over 7x the rate of those via tablets.
“In 2014 the rate of growth via smartphones appeared to be slowing down, but in 2015 it shot up again. The main reason for this is likely to be related to the design trend for larger screens, but many mobile retail sites have improved significantly to give a far better experience and inspire confidence in shoppers. There is also the fact that we increasingly use our smartphones for managing so much of our lives – it’s only logical that completing purchases on retail sites would gravitate over to these devices as well.”