Has mobile penetration plateaued?

– 42% of UK online sales were via mobile and tablet devices in Q2 – unchanged from Q1
– Rate has shot up rapidly since 2010 – first time it has remained static
– Three in five visits to retail sites now from mobile devices

26th August 2015: The latest data from IMRG and Capgemini has revealed that the percentage of online sales completed through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) may have reached a plateau.

In Q1 2015/16 it was recorded as 42% – and it stayed at that rate in Q2, the first time this has happened.

IMRG and Capgemini have been measuring smartphone and tablet sales penetration since 2010, when just 0.9% of online sales were completed through these devices. Since then it has risen at a remarkable rate, reaching 37% in 2014.

As it was building from a very low base in 2010, the year-on-year mobile sales growth rates in IMRG and Capgemini’s Mobile Index were initially triple-digit and gradually fell to double-digit, as expected with any fast-growing area.

In recent months however we’ve seen signs of normalisation – recording an acceleration in the year-on-year growth rate for several months running compared with the same periods in 2014.

The percentage of visits to retail websites made via mobile devices continues to increase – reaching 60% in Q2 2015/16, up from 58% in the previous quarter.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG: “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.”

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.”

Ben Carter, Marketing Director, notonthehighstreet.com commented:  “Throughout Q2, we’ve seen that the volume of customers using smartphones to purchase fromnotonthehighstreet.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.”

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