More than £130bn spent online with UK retailers last year

When shopping at retail outlets 45 percent of those surveyed said they now use their mobile devices to locate the nearest store. (Getty)

£133 billion was spent online with UK retailers last year, £18 billion more than the previous year.

Accessory and gift categories saw some of the largest growth, seeing 38% and 26% growth respectively.

The 16% growth in online sales has been attributed largely to the rise of internet shopping on smartphones in a new report.

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It is predicted that e-tail will grow a further 14% this year, presenting a lucrative opportunity for jewellery retailers with ecommerce operations suitable for smartphones.

According to IMRG Capgemini findings, smartphones accounted for 54% of mobile device sales in December, with tablets accounting for the other 46% – 3% down from the previous December.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement design, Capgemini, commented: “2016 was a turbulent year with a number of predictions for retail and beyond going against the status quo.  Regardless, it was still a record breaking year for online sales – up 16% on 2015.

“Few would have anticipated the decline in sales made on tablets, but with sales made through overall mobile devices generating over 50% of visits, combined with the sweeping growth of both visits and conversions from smartphones, mobile continues to head towards being the number one sales channel.”

Unadkat admitted that 2017 will be an uncertain year for retail but noted that it is sure to be “another record breaking year for online sales.”

Justin Opie, managing director at IMRG, said: “Following a below-expectation year in 2015, online sales growth has shot back up to an extent that seemed highly unlikely at the start of the year. There are two key factors driving this.

“The first is that Black Friday became an ‘online’ event in 2015, and this seems to have had a lasting effect on people’s shopping behaviour and preferences – our Index has recorded strong growth for online sales ever since that day. The second is that sales through smartphones are continuing to grow at a very strong rate, which is increasing the times and places in which people can browse and engage with online retailers.”

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