Over half of online sales now completed on mobile devices

Back in 2013, the IMRG reported that mobile accounted for all online growth, 23% of all online retail sales in Q2 2013 came from mobile devices.

They have now revealed that the percentage of UK online retail sales made through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) exceeding 50% for the first time in Q4 (November to January) 2015/16.

Smartphones and tablets accounted for 51% of UK online retail sales in Q4, which was a substantial increase on the 45% recorded in Q3 – and up from 40% in Q4 last year.

This leap in mobile penetration appears to be being driven by increased confidence in using smartphones for online shopping (18% of online UK sales). Sales growth through these devices rose sharply in 2015, while growth through tablets reached a record low in December 2015.

Visits to retail websites via mobile devices accounted for 66% of traffic in Q4, up from 63% in the previous quarter and 53% in Q4 last year. The key difference is that consumers are now completing transactions on smartphones whereas in the past they’d use them for research for a later purchase on a laptop or desktop.

The change in behaviour appears to be driven by larger screens and more importantly easier mobile payments enabling consumers to complete purchases quickly and effortlessly. This is partly why apps such as eBay and Amazon’s are so successful – once you find what you want it’s just one or two clicks to complete the purchase.

If you haven’t updated your payments processes on your website for a couple of years or more, it’s time to do a test purchase on your mobile to see what your customers see and if need be consider upgrading to make mobile checkout as slick and frictionless as possible.