Online sales via mobile devices stalls at 42% as ‘digital window shopping’ booms

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 14:  In this photo illustration, an iPhone is used to make an Apple Pay  purchase at The Post Office on July 14, 2015 in London, England. From today iPhone and Apple Watch owners can use their device to pay for purchases at retailers who support the new mobile wallet service Apple Pay.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

According to data from e-tail authority, IMRG, and consultancy firm, Capgemini, the percentage of online sales completed using mobile devices in the UK may have levelled off despite customer visits to digital platforms booming. 

Using data from around 40 retailers, including House of Fraser and John Lewis, the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking figure has been tracked since 2010, when just 0.9% of online sales were completed using smartphones and tablets.

Growth from this low base point has been phenomenal since then, with the above figure rising to 37% by 2014. But the first two quarters of 2015 has seen the number plateau at 42%, the first time that no rise has been reported in a quarter.

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Despite this stalling of growth for mobile device sales, the percentage of visits to retail websites made via mobile devices continues to increase – reaching 60% in Q2 2015/16, up from 58% in the previous quarter.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer of IMRG, attributes some of the slowdown in growth to a cooling off of tablet sales: “On the surface it looks like sales via mobile devices have stalled, although these figures alone don’t tell the full story. 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.”

Alex Smith-Bingham of Capgemini, encourages people to look at these recent figures in a broader context: “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.”


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