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‘Tipping point’ as customers use mobile more often than desktops to visit retail sites: IMRG

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M-commerce has reached a tipping point, according to IMRG figures out today that show more than half of visits to UK retail websites now come, for the first time, from mobile devices.

Some 52% of traffic to ecommerce sites came from smartphones or tablet devices in the second quarter of this year, according to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report.

At the same time, 36% of UK online sales are now completed on mobile devices, with 82% of m-commerce transactions taking place over tablets and 18% on smartphones. Retailers of clothing and apparel see 40% of their sales being made via mobile.

Some £2.4bn was spent online in the second quarter of the year, between May and July, of which £8.7bn was spent via smartphones and tablet devices, the report suggested.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG , said the news was a “huge landmark”.

“Considering that as recently as 2010 mobile visits to e-retail sites accounted for less than 3% of traffic, this latest milestone represents staggering growth of 2,000% over the past 4 years,” she said. “These results clearly demonstrate that retailers’ investment in mobile optimisation is encouraging consumers to adopt mobile devices as a shopping platform.”

The data shows levels of mobile usage seen by some retailers for some time are now going mainstream.

Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis, said: “We called John Lewis’s first ever ‘mobile Christmas’ in 2013 and we have continued to see customers shop via this channel during the first half of this year.

“Today, over half of the traffic to comes from mobile and tablet devices and we’ve also seen an increase in the conversion rate of traffic to sales. We’ve placed a significant focus on developing our mobile strategy and have more enhancements planned for our app later this year. Customers want to be able to shop seamlessly across all channels and mobile is now the go-to choice alongside visiting our shops.”

M-Retailing editor Paul Skeldon will be considering this landmark moment in more depth in his M-Retailing newsletter, which is published on Thursday.

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