Sales through mobile devices totalled £7.5bn in 2012, equating to 12% of the £62.4bn total e-retail sales for the year.
This value tripled from 2011, when mobile sales accounted for 4% of e-retail sales, according to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index.
However, Capgemini reported a slowdown in growth towards the end of 2012. Sales from smartphone and tablet devices as a percentage of e-retail sales grew from 8.2% to 15.4% between the first and fourth quarters last year, but sales were expected to reach 20% by the fourth quarter.
This slowdown was also seen in site visits from mobile devices. In 2011, 8% of site visits were from mobile devices, rising to 21% in 2012. This figure was expected to reach 30% by the fourth quarter of 2012, but it only hit 20%.
“Growth may be slowing as mobile shopping becomes ubiquitous, but don’t mistake this for a decline. Mobile commerce is here to stay. We’re no longer just seeing consumers shopping from their sofas at home, but instead spotting products in store and choosing to purchase online on the grounds of cost or convenience,” said Chris Webster, vice-president of consumer products and retail at Capgemini.
Growth may be slowing as mobile shopping becomes ubiquitous, but don’t mistake this for a decline. Mobile commerce is here to stay
Chris Webster, Capgemini
Retailers need mobile presence
Mobile retail averaged 300% year-on-year growth for the first quarter of 2012, according to Capgemini reports last year. However, the conversion rate for shoppers who visit retail sites via a mobile device and actually buy something remained low, at 0.7%.
There was growing concern about retailers and their mobile presence last year. Olivier Ropars, senior director of Europe mobile commerce at eBay, told Computer Weekly that fewer than half of the retailers he spoke to had any form of mobile presence.
In July 2012, Ropers said customers were viewing retail websites on their smartphones, but later visiting a classic website on a PC to purchase. He said retailers need to address the growing trend of mobile commerce to keep up with the needs of their consumers.
“With so much you can do in the mobile space, from HTML5 and apps through to the mobile web, it is hard to figure out where to begin,” he said.
NFC payments set to grow
The Capgemini report offered no breakdown of the use of near-field communication (NFC) mobile payment technology, which is still in its gestation period, but is thought by the industry to be one of the next big trends in mobile.
At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Visa and Samsung partnered to accelerate mobile payments.
The partnership will ensure that Visa’s payWave applet is preinstalled on the next generation of Samsung handsets. Visa also said it will partner with financial institutions to push forward global mobile payment solutions.
At the end of 2012, Visa predicted that half of UK Visa payments will be made through mobile devices by 2020.
Pierre Combelles, business lead for the GSMA’s NFC programme, said the UK has not been the leading country in Europe for mobile payments, but Barclays and Natwest were pioneers by conducting innovative banking schemes around mobile.
“Operators provide a consistent interface for banks and providers, and so far UK operators have worked separately. There is a joint venture called Weve, focused first on mobile marketing, and it’s very likely that there will be a movement towards payments,” he said.