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Mobile Shopping Shifting from Tablets to Phones

David Murphy

Topshop mobile site

Mobile shopping is shifting rapidly from tablets to smartphones



Smartphones are rapidly catching up with tablets as the preferred choice for UK consumers buying online via a mobile device.

The IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index for August 2016 reveals that, for online sales made via a mobile device, 49.5 per cent were made on a smartphone, compared to 50.5 per cent on a tablet. This is a year-on-year increase of 18.5 per cent for smartphones, which in August 2015 accounted for just 31 per cent of mobile sales, compared to the 69 per cent made on a tablet.

Overall, online sales grew 16 per cent year-on-year in August; equating to £9.8bn. The strong performance is in stark contrast to August 2015, during which the Index recorded a growth of just 5 per cent.

“The solid performance in online sales continued during August, resulting in overall growth year-to-date reaching 15 per cent, which is ahead of our growth forecast for 2016,” said Tina Spooner, chief information officer, at IMRG. “Following the initial turbulence reported by some retailers during the week following the EU referendum vote, the latest Index results suggest eRetailers had a successful summer, with many reporting normal trading patterns for this time of year. It appears the weak pound has helped boost international sales for some merchants who have reported buoyant sales from customers outside the UK, with countries within the Eurozone showing particularly strong growth.

“The shift towards smartphones as the preferred device for online shopping continues, with almost half of all mobile commerce sales now completed on these devices and annual growth rates on smartphones around 14 times higher than those recorded on tablets year-to-date.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, management consultant in retail customer engagement design at Capgemini, said he was impressed by the growth in conversion rates on mobile. “Mobile continues to impress with a near even split between traffic from mobile and desktop,” said Unadkat. “However, the more interesting element is how conversion from smartphones continues to increase. It was under 1 per cent last year and is now nearly 2 per cent. Soon it will double again, and if retailers can hold their traffic and drive that level of conversion then it will not be long before mobile overtakes desktop in online sales. As always, a seamless cross-channel and device journey is key to ensure market share gains are driven at a customer level and not just isolated to one channel.”

The IMRG Capgemini Index has been running since April 2000 and tracks online sales, defined as: ‘transactions completed fully, including payment, via interactive channels' from any location, including in-store.’ Over 100 eRetailers now regularly contribute data to the Index.

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