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Mobile penetration doubles in a year

By Retail Technology | Tuesday September 3 2013

Latest e-commerce benchmark finds growing appetite for online shopping using mobile devices in the UK

The percentage of online sales completed through mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, has doubled in the space of a year according to second quarter (Q2) online retail benchmarking results released today.

The figures, compiled by IMRG and Capgemini, showed that between May to July 2012 the percentage stood at 11.6%, but by the same Q2 period this year it had exactly doubled to 23.2%. Over the same period the percentage of online retail site visits through mobile devices has also shot up sharply, from 21.1% in Q2 2012 to 34% in Q3 2013.

The e-commerce trade body and IT services provider have been tracking sales through mobile devices for over three years, during which time penetration of online sales via this channel has grown by more than 2,000%, with the penetration of online retail visits via mobile devices growing by 1,100%.

Growth affects bounce rates

The switch in device types used for internet access appeared to have had a knock-on effect for bounce rates however.

At the beginning of 2010 over 97% of retail sites were accessed through a desktop computer. Over the subsequent three years, as mobile device access began to grow rapidly, the bounce rate rose from 21.7% in 2010 to 23.7% in 2011, before reaching 27% in 2012. Year to date in 2013, the bounce rate is 26%.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said there appeared to be a correlation between the surge in mobile commerce in the past three years and the rise in visitor bounce rates on e-retail websites. "While consumers have generally become more confident in using their mobile devices as a shopping tool, the latest data suggests they have also become more demanding," she stated.

“Higher search volumes will inevitably result in an increase in bounce rates, as shoppers will often compare products and pricing across several brands. However, by offering an engaging and relevant experience for customers across all channels retailers will ultimately achieve the end goal of higher conversion rates and an increase in customer loyalty.”

Click & collect sales reach record high

There was also a significant rise in click & collect sales in Q2, reaching a record high of 16% of online sales for multichannel retailers and representing annual growth of 33% compared with the 12% penetration recorded in Q2 last year.

Chris Webster, vice president of consumer products and retail at Capgemini, commented: “The record high levels of online sales via mobile devices corresponds with record high rates for click & collect, which now stands at 16% of all e-commerce orders. This correlation of mobile ordering and location flexible collection is at the heart of the mobile internet and the impact it will have on consumer behaviour. Maybe we are truly entering the so-called 'Martini' age - anytime, anyplace, anywhere.”

The Quarterly Index tracks over 40 key performance indicators across seven categories to prrovide IMG members with insight into UK e-retail sector performance.

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