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Mobile sales growth at lowest level for four years

Retail sales made through smartphones hit its lowest level of growth for four years in August - despite sales increasing 27% compared to the year before.

The latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index also found that m-retail growth – which looks at sales from smartphones and tablets combined – hit an all-time low of just 10%.

Overall UK online retail sales held steady in August, with sales up 12.8% compared to last year. The Index also found that online-only retailers outperformed multichannel retailers, with the former reporting 14% growth compared to 10.8% for the latter.

While clothing sales increased 5.4% year on year, it found a stark difference between menswear and womenswear, which the categories reporting 18.6% and 3% growth respectively.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director at IMRG: “The main driver of growth in our index over the past few years has been smartphone devices; throughout 2016 sales growth through these devices was typically in the 75-100% range, then in 2017 it gradually slowed down to be in the 40-60% range, then as we’ve entered 2018 it has continued to decline. This is expected, as very high growth cannot usually be sustained for long periods, but in August three points of note happened.

”The first was that smartphone sales growth was at its lowest rate since September 2014; August 2018 was also the first time it has fallen below the 30% mark since then. The second was that, looking at mobile devices overall (smartphone and tablets combined), growth was at its lowest ever rate since we started tracking it in 2012. And finally, the weak performance seems to be attributed to the multichannel retailers, who recorded overall mobile device growth of just 1%, while for the online-only retailers it was up 15%.”

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement at Capgemini said: “The August performance was largely driven by an uplift in the final week during the August bank holiday weekend; where we started to see a change in the weather, potentially driving autumn-wear and new season growth. Basket values in clothing however, were 11% lower than last year, which could be a result of heavier promotional activity as retailers continue to claim share-of-wallet.”

 

 

Readers' comments (1)

  • Do online growth figures look at performance AFTER returns have been taken into account? Many stores still take the double hit of online returns (staff time and turnover loss) that don’t get correctly adjusted. Additionally, some retailers have more than 28 day return policies, suggesting the reported percentages exaggerate on behalf of online / mobile.

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