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Mobile accounts for one in five e-retail sales

By Retail Technology | Tuesday June 4 2013

Latest m-commerce sales index finds that the popularity of mobile devices translated to increased online traffic and sales through Q1

There was a significant uplift in mobile sales in the first quarter of 2013, with one in five UK e-retail sales being generated through a mobile device (smartphones and tablets), according to figures published by IMRG and Capgemini.

The 20% milestone has been reached following what the two organisations said was a big leap in mobile sales activity. In the previous, fourth quarter (Q4) of 2012, mobile devices accounted for 15.4% of UK e-retail sales. The M-Commerce Index, compiled by the e-retail trade body and systems integrator (SI), said this lastest surge is likely to have been influenced by the huge increase in tablet owners following strong sales of the devices over Christmas.

Mobile popularity boosts traffic

The percentage of e-retail visits via mobile devices also rose steeply, accounting for almost one in three (30%) of total visits in Q1 of 2013, up from 24% in the previous quarter.

Overall, the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index found sales via mobile devices shot up from 0.9% in 2010 to 4% in 2011, and reached 12% of e-retail sales in 2012. Visits via mobile have risen from 2.6% in 2010 to 8.2% in 2011, reaching 21.3% of all e-retail visits in 2012.

The Index is an additional reporting tool open to all participating IMRG member organisations in the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index that tracks over 40 key performance indicators across seven categories, to provide insight into UK e-retail sector performance.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, commented: “Mobile is clearly a game-changer for the UK e-retail industry, with m-retail sales increasing at more than double the levels we saw in the early 2000s when IMRG started tracking online sales. At the beginning of 2010 mobile sales accounted for just 0.4% of the UK e-retail market – within three years it has surged a staggering 5,000%, with m-retail now accounting for one in every five online purchases.

“With the continuing shift away from desktop to mobile internet use, it is inevitable we will see the latter platform outstrip desktop PCs as the preferred device for shopping online and, from the latest figures, it is apparent this may be sooner than expected.”

Ushering in mobile decade

Chris Webster, vice president and head of retail consulting and technology at the SI Capgemini, added: “In 2020 when we look back on the last 10 years, we will undoubtedly see it as the ‘mobile decade’. In the first three years alone we have seen sales via mobile devices increase from nearly zero to over 20% of all e-retail sales. However, we are only scratching the surface and over the next few years we will see the technology reveal its full potential.

“The mobile device will be the aggregator of all digital services, enabling the internet to recognise who we are and to give us access to an endless list of personal features. As we access all these services digitally, tickets, boarding passes, keys, payment and loyalty cards, and even passports, will become to us what typewriters are to my children; objects of intrigue and amusement.”

Sharing an industry view, Sean McKee, head of ecommerce and customer services at Schuh, commented: “We have continued to see mobile device participation and sales power ahead in the first quarter of 2013, and believe that this will be the last quarter where desktop traffic is still the majority player. For us at least, a key tipping point is about to be reached.” Schuh recently revealedplans to ramp up its m-commerce strategy.

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