Sales through mobile devices break through the 5% barrier, new index shows

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Sales through mobile devices have broken through the 5% barrier of total e-retail sales for the first time, according to the IMRG Capgemini Quarter Benchmarking Index.

In Q4 of 2011 mobile sales accounted for 5.3% of e-retail sales, up from 0.4% in the space of just two years. This represents a staggering growth rate of 1,320%, said researchers. Mobile figures include those made through tablet devices.

Visits to retail sites through mobile devices also experienced impressive growth, breaking through the 10% barrier as a percentage of total traffic for the first time, said IMRG Capgemini. In Q3 of 2011, 8.2% of visits were through mobile; this rose to 11.6% in Q4.

In the previous quarter there was also a surge in click & collect sales, which shot up to 10.4% of total online sales, said IMRG Capgemini. However, in Q4 this dropped to 9.8%. At this time it is unclear whether this option has reached a peak in popularity, or whether it is in relation to click & collect options not being available through all retailers during the January sales period, said researchers.

There was also good news from a fraud perspective, with the number of orders cancelled due to fraud dropping to its lowest level recorded in the two year period – 1.6% in Q4, less than half of that recorded (3.6%) in Q1 of 2010.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG, said: “The rise in mobile sales for this quarter is massive, hitting 5.3% of total e-retail sales up from 3.9% in Q3. Although it was already growing rapidly, this actually marks an acceleration in pace.

“This could have been influenced by Q4 covering the Christmas period, where lots of consumers would have got access to a tablet device for the first time or advanced phone technology such as the iPhone 4S, which was released just toward the end of Q3.

“Some retailers actually reported m-commerce sales accounted for as much as 9% of their total online sales over the festive period. Really good news on the fraud front too, which is probably a result of retailers implementing more sophisticated fraud prevention systems.”

Chris Webster, head of retail and technology at Capgemini, said: “The growth in mobile payments is equally as important as the decline in fraud, which has traditionally been a major concern and barrier to consumer adoption in this channel. The news consumers are more willing to engage and are less at risk is welcome.”