The shift toward mobile shopping continues, with 40% of UK online retail sales in Q4 2014/15 – that’s November to January – completed through tablets and smartphones, according to the latest research from IMRG and Capgemini : up from 37% in the previous quarter.
This figure represents the steepest quarterly rise in the rate of mobile retail penetration since Q4 2013/14, when mobile devices accounted for 32% of online sales.
Confidence in using smartphones for buying online also appears to be increasing – with 25% of mobile sales completed through these devices and 75% through tablets over the past three months. This compares with a split of 80% for tablets and 20% for smartphones a year earlier in Q4 2013/14.
Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG explains: “The impact of mobile on general user behaviour has been extremely significant – most of us now carry our phones around 24/7 and regard these devices as being a central part of everyday life.
Spooner continues: “In an online shopping context, the smartphone has generally been regarded as a research tool for comparing prices and checking information primarily. Yet the number of m-retail sales completed via these devices has risen from one in five to one in four in the space of a year, and we’ve seen mobile conversion rates rise significantly over the same period as UK shoppers now clearly feel confident in using their smartphones for completing purchases.”
Adgild Hop, Retail Director at Capgemini, adds: “The quarterly growth of smartphones as a shopping channel may only be slight, it is however very significant. Over the last few years, retailers have taken huge steps in improving their smartphone shopping platforms, making them more user intuitive and more secure for customers. Coupled with greater connectivity, consumers are more confident than ever in using their smartphones to make complete purchases and not just for online window shopping.
Hop adds: “Whereas smartphones continue to evolve in leaps and bounds, tablet devices are reaching what could be considered a plateau, and to an extent merely serve as a replacement to the home PC. With ongoing investments, ever-expanding screens, and increasingly ubiquitous connectivity, I don’t think it will be too long before smartphones overtake tablets as the prominent mobile shopping device. However, the potential impact of the smartphone on the in-store shopping experience will be a key area of innovation and development in the coming months.”