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Established 1996
Wednesday 13 November 2019


Payments Awards 2019

Mobile now dominant device for online shopping

Written by Peter Walker

For the first time, shoppers spent more money through their smartphones when accessing UK retail sites than either of the other two major device types - desktop or tablet - according to quarterly data from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

In the fourth quarter last year, which covers the traditional festive retail period, the share of sales revenue spent through smartphone devices was 40.4 per cent, with desktop securing 39.7 per cent and tablet 19.9 per cent.

A further milestone was reached in December, where smartphones accounted for over 70 per cent of mobile device sales for the first time – the other 30 per cent being spent through tablets.

UK shoppers are also increasingly using mobile devices for accessing retail sites. In the fourth quarter, just under three quarters (74.3 per cent) of site visits were made through mobile devices, with just 25.7 per cent made through desktops.

To give this some perspective: back in 2015, the percentage of visits coming through smartphones and tablets versus desktops was even.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG, called this is another significant step in smartphones becoming the dominant device through which we manage so many aspects of our lives.

“This does not spell the end of other devices being used for online retail purchases, however – people tend to use multiple devices depending on which is most convenient,” he noted. “So, for example, during standard working hours a higher proportion of sales come through desktop as people are sat in front of their computers at work.”

Lucy Gibbs, senior consultant in retail analytics at Capgemini Invent, pointed out that the advancements over the last few years in mobile banking, in-app purchases and a greater focus on optimising m-commerce sites have all led to the facilitation and increased confidence in purchasing on smartphones.

“Although smartphones have now reached largest share in revenue, they are still seeing the lowest conversion rates, behind tablets and desktop,” she added. “However, the significance of our use of mobile in influencing our buying decisions should not be underestimated even when we are completing purchases elsewhere.”

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