Verdict: online spend via mobile phones and tablets is set to soar to £23.1bn in 2018

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Spend via mobile phones and tablets will take off over the next five years, growing from £7.9bn in 2013 to hit £23.1bn in 2018, according to new research from Verdict.

While improving economic conditions and investment from retailers aid growth, the major driving factor will be greater tablet proliferation and the resulting cannibalisation of laptop spend.

“Cannibalisation of spend has had a major impact in market sizes as mobile phones and tablets have become more mainstream shopping devices, often replacing desktops and laptops”, said Verdict analyst Matthew Rubin.

“Mobile phone spend has grown rapidly, though it remains relatively small, while tablet spend has grown from nothing to almost twice the size of mobile phone spend in just the two years to 2012, and that trend has continued into 2013.”

Another impact of the increased availability of mobile and tablet devices is that there will be strong expenditure growth from less wealthy 55-plus shoppers. As a result, the potential opportunity for lower-value products will boom over the next five years, particularly in clothing, where tablets have proved to be ideal for product visualisation and the social aspects of online shopping.

Thirty eight per cent of online shoppers research goods instore prior to purchasing online. “This appears to be a major concern for retailers with a physical presence,” said Rubin. “However, with only 7% of mobile phone shoppers completing transactions in a store; there is still a major opportunity to convince them to make the transaction through the store itself or through its own website. This requires strong customer service and engagement, but with 57% of online shoppers comparing prices between websites, it is also essential that retailers with homogenous products match or come close to pureplay pricing.”

Verdict’s mobile & tablet data is driven by a survey of over 10,000 online shoppers who were asked about their shopping habits in March 2013.