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Mobile penetration falls for first time since records began

The percentage of online retail sales made through tablets and smartphones fell in the first quarter of 2016, the first decrease since etailing association IMRG’s records began in 2010.

Just under half (49.6%) of online retail sales were completed through mobile devices during the period, down from 51.3% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmark.

There was also a slight dip in the percentage of visits to online retail sites through mobile devices, down from 65.6% to 64.6%.

IMRG said the fall was likely due to the difference in growth rates between smartphone and tablet use. Sales through smartphones were up 83% in April, while through tablet devices they were up just 3%.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “Back in 2010 mobile devices accounted for less than 1% of online retail sales and this increased rapidly over a few years to exceed 50% in the last quarter.

“However, these latest results appear to track the effects of some displacement activity we are seeing in relation to sales made through mobile devices.

“While the majority of these sales still come through tablets, shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones in situations where they would previously have used a tablet – the screen sizes have become larger, retailers have focused on optimising the experience for smartphone users and consumers are becoming increasingly confident in using these devices for a wide range of activities.”



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