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Mobile to make up 1 in 5 of online sales by Christmas

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As many as one in five ‘online’ sales made this Christmas could be through mobile, with as many as one in three visits to online sites being through the channel, suggests the latest IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index.

The forecast also found that the percentage of sales through mobile devices rose to 11.6% in Q2 of 2012, up from 8.2% in the first quarter. Since the beginning of 2010 the penetration of mobile in terms of UK e-retail sales has soared 2,900%, rising from just 0.4% of e-retail sales in Q1 2010 to 11.6% in the last quarter. Site visits through mobile devices also rose significantly in the second quarter, reaching 21.1% of visits to UK e-retail websites, up from 16.4% in the previous quarter.

The research also revealed that the visitor bounce rate for Q2 rose to 29%, the highest yet recorded in the two and a half years the Quarterly Benchmarking has been tracking it. This suggests that consumers are becoming ever-more demanding when it comes to initial site engagement; the average bounce rate was 22% in 2010 and 24% in 2011; year-to-date in 2012, the average bounce rate is 28%.

There were some positive signs in terms of basket abandonment rates, as the average rate fell five percentage points in Q2 to 55%. Although basket abandonment has been falling, the rate at which it is happening is only marginal and the overall level remains high. The average was 61% in 2010, 60% in 2011 and 58% year-to-date in 2012.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, explains: “While the share of online sales going through mobile devices continues to grow impressively, the actual final conversion side of it is only part of the story. Mobile has placed retailers, symbolically perhaps, in the palms of consumers’ hands, removing many former borders and expanding the contexts and times that engagement can happe,” she says.

“With the phenomenal growth seen in m-retail sales and visits, inevitably this also impacts the website visitor bounce rates, with fickle consumers easily able to compare and browse across multiple websites before completing a purchase,” Spooner adds.

Chris Webster, VP / Consumer Products and Retail at Capgemini, adds: “The second decade of this century is will be viewed in history as the decade when the mobile device became the point of access to digital services. This has happened very quickly for commerce services and by the end of this year, 20% of all digital commerce transactions will be completed on mobile devices. Compound this with the ability to identify ourselves (iris or fingerprint recognition etc), hold information on ourselves (eg. Apple passbook launched this autumn on iOS6) and access such services while on the move (location based services) making these services personal and location based. The mobile device will be the must have item when you leave the house; just imagine when your passport and driving licence can also be held (or accessed) through the device. One final hurdle to clear: what happens when the battery goes flat?”

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