Preference Choice Publication

The smartphone is now the dominant device for shopping online

Samanta Kalesnykaite

Shopping on smartphones reached a milestone in Q4 2018/19, as shoppers accessing UK retails sites spent more on their phones than on desktop or tablet, for the first time. According to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index (IMRG and Capgemini data sourced from 210 UK retailers, covering November, December and January), 40.4 per cent of sales went through smartphones, with desktop accounting for 39.7 per cent, and tablet 19.9 per cent.

Additionally, in December 2018, more than 70 per cent of sales through mobile devices took place on smartphones, the first time this threshold has been reached. The remaining sales went through tablets. The study also found that UK shoppers are increasingly using mobile devices to access retail sites. In Q4, 74.3 per cent of site visits were made through mobile devices, with only 25.7 per cent made through desktop. To put this in context, back in 2015, the percentage of visits coming through mobile devices and desktops was even.

Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director of IMRG, described this as: “Another significant step in smartphones becoming the dominant device through which we manage so many aspects of our lives,” adding: “It wasn’t until late-2015 when it started to really gain traction as a fully transactional device for online shopping”.

“Smartphones make it easier than other forms to be truly omnichannel” said Lucy Gibbs, senior consultant in retail analytics at Capgemini Invent. “Advancements over the last years in mobile banking, in-app purchases and a greater focus on optimising mCommerce sites have all led to the facilitation and increased confidence in purchasing on smartphones”.