Data reveals mobile retail sales may have plateaued

The percentage of online sales made through mobile devices may have plateaued, according to data from IMRG and Capgemini.

For the first time the percentage of mobile retail sales was unchanged over the last quarter, despite continued increase since 2010. In Q1 of this year (2015/16), 42% of UK online sales were made through mobile and tablet devices, but this has not increased in Q2.

Year-on-year mobile sales growth rates have seen triple-digit figures since its low starting point in 2010 – when only 0.9% of sales were completed on mobile – before falling to double digit growth more recently.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “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.

“Figures from a number of manufacturers show sales of tablet devices have also slowed – it may be that the next mobile growth spurt will be purely driven by increasing consumer confidence in using smartphones for online shopping.”

But the percentage of visits to retail websites made via mobile devices continues to increase, with a 58% growth this quarter, reaching 60% in Q2.

Ben Carter, marketing director, notonthehighstreet.com, added:  "Throughout Q2, we've seen that the volume of customers using smartphones to purchase from notonthehighstreet.com has steadily increased. Smartphones now account for a significant amount of traffic and continue to drive conversion; it's clear that they are very much a key component in the online shopping journey for today's customers."

Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail, Capgemini, commented: “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.

“UK retailers have capitalised on the available consumer technology to create an engaging and reliable experience for their customers. As this technology evolves and is enhanced, so too will our shopping experience as I predict retailers will approach the opportunity with the same level of zeal as they have with mobile devices.”