Are retailers realising full potential of the smartphone?

Almost a quarter of mobile sales in September were conducted through smartphones, according to new research from e-tail trade body IMRG and business consultancy Capgemini.

The 23% of mobile sales through smartphones was up from 15% in August and, although it is too soon for IMRG and Capgemini to discuss trends related to these figures, they admit that the difference between mobile phone and tablet sales is an area that will be monitored with interest over the coming months.

Data from the e-Retail Sales Index also indicates that year-on-year sales growth via smartphone stood at 150% in September, which highlights how shoppers are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchase through their mobile devices.

Alex Fovargue, retail specialist at business intelligence software provider SAS UK & Ireland, argues that retailers could be making more of this growing trend to use mobile devices in retailing.

Citing recent research from SAS and retail analysts Conlumino, which found that around a third of consumers would be likely to take advantage of an offer if they received it via their mobile device while standing in-store, he said that getting just 30% of phone users to accept offers would have “a serious impact on the retail industry’s profit margins”.

“Key to driving this shift will be the adoption of high-performance and visual technology solutions that not only manage big data being collected from loyalty schemes, but also analyse and transform it into valuable customer insights,” he added.

“From here retailers can make decisions based on evidence to deliver the right product, for the right price, at the right time, to the right person and via the right channel.”

IMRG and Capgemini’s latest monthly survey also indicated that overall online retail sales were up by 20% year on year in September and 13% higher than last month.

It represented the steepest monthly rise between August and September in the 13-year history of the index. The average basket value in September was the highest it has been for 15 months, too.

Chris Webster, vice president and head of retail consulting & technology at Capgemini, remarked: “This month’s index is a good indicator that we are headed towards economic recovery, and a great sign for a strong Christmas.

“The fact that e-retail has seen its sharpest period of growth for September suggests that consumers are shopping with confidence. In addition, September’s three-year high in the average clothing basket value is a clear sign that retailers are selling through at full price, giving even more confidence to the economic recovery.”