Sales on mobiles see first fall this decade

Sales on smartphones and tablets fell in the first quarter of 2016 for the first time since tracking began in 2010.

The latest IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmark report revealed that just under half (49.6 per cent) of online retail sales were made on a mobile device, compared with 51.3 per cent in the previous quarter.

It also found a slight fall in the number of visits to online retail websites on a mobile, at 64.6 per cent in Q1 compared with 65.6% in Q4 2015.

IMRG attributed this fall to the divide in growth rates between mobile and tablet devices. For instance, growth rates in April were up 83 per cent on smartphones, whereas tablets only recorded a three per cent increase.

Click-and-collect orders for multichannel retailers remained steady at 22 per cent in Q1. This was unchanged from Q4 last year and has stayed consistently around this mark for the past year.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG, said: “Back in 2010, mobile devices accounted for less than one per cent of online retail sales and this increased rapidly over a few years to exceed 50 per cent 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. 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.”