The proportion of online sales that take place via mobile devices may be levelling out, according to new analysis from the IMRG.
The organisation says 42% of UK internet sales were completed on a mobile device in the three months to July, level with the previous three months. That’s the first time the rate has remained the same between two successive quarters since 2010, when IMRG and Capgemini started measuring the penetration of mobile in ecommerce. Back then, just 0.9% of online sales were completed through smartphones or tablets.
But while mobile sales appear to show signs of reaching a plateau, visits from a mobile device do not, now accounting for 60% of all website visits. That’s up from 58% the previous quarter.
“On the surface it looks like sales via mobile devices have stalled, although these figures alone don’t tell the full story,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG . “While tablets currently account for almost three-quarters of sales through mobile devices, sales growth through smartphones is rising at around four-times the rate of that through tablets and conversion rates on both device types are increasing.
“Figures from a number of manufacturers show sales of tablet devices have also slowed – it may be that the next mobile growth spurt will be purely driven by increasing consumer confidence in using smartphones for online shopping.”
Alex Smith-Bingham, who is head of digital, consumer products and retail at Capgemini , said: “The rate of mobile growth has slowed down in recent months, but the trajectory of the last five years has been tremendous. Online sales via mobile devices now equate to 42%, which is a remarkable achievement in such a short period of time and is testament to the central role mobile now plays in our daily shopping journey.
“UK retailers have capitalised on the available consumer technology to create an engaging and reliable experience for their customers. As this technology evolves and is enhanced, so too will our shopping experience as I predict retailers will approach the opportunity with the same level of zeal as they have with mobile devices.”
Commenting on the figures, Ben Carter, marketing director of notonthehighstreet.com, said: “Throughout the second quarter we’ve seen that the volume of customers using smartphones to purchase from notonthehighstreet.com has steadily increased. Smartphones now account for a significant amount of traffic and continue to drive conversion; it’s clear that they are very much a key component in the online shopping journey for today’s customers.”
Our view: Retailers seeking to understand the importance of mobile to their business will be greatly interested by these findings. Whether this is the natural level of m-commerce sales, or whether there are more strides to be made, it’s clear that many retailers still have work to do to give mobile users the relevant experience on their website.