Mobile visits to retail websites reach tipping point

Key findings

  • Mobile commerce now accounts for 36% of UK e-retail sales - rising to 40% for clothing and apparel websites
  • 52% of traffic to retail websites now coming via smartphones and tablet devices
  • 6.5% online sales came via smartphone, 29.5% via tablet during Q2
  • Increase in visitor bounce rates – this is most likely due to the increase in mobile traffic
  • Checkout abandonment rate at record low of 27%

2nd September 2014: Visits to retail websites via mobile devices have overtaken desktop traffic for the first time ever, the latest IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report has revealed.

As well as 52% of visits coming from mobile, over a third (36%) of UK online sales are now completed on a smartphone or tablet device – a figure that rises to 40% for clothing and apparel merchants.

Of sales completed on a mobile device, smartphones account for around 18%, while tablets account for 82%, based on the data sample from the IMRG Capgemini m-Retail Sales Index.

Other key highlights from the Quarterly Benchmarking include: 

  • Visitor bounce rates rose to 28% in Q2, up from 25% in the previous quarter. This is most likely due to increased mobile traffic
  • The checkout abandonment rate reached a record low of 27%, down from 36% in Q1

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, said: “With over half of all e-retail traffic now coming via smartphones and tablet devices, the latest Quarterly Benchmarking results reveal a huge landmark in the growth of mobile commerce.

“Considering that as recently as 2010 mobile visits to e-retail sites accounted for less than 3% of traffic, this latest milestone represents staggering growth of 2,000% over the past 4 years. These results clearly demonstrate that retailers’ investment in mobile optimisation is encouraging consumers to adopt mobile devices as a shopping platform.”

The report also revealed that the total estimated online spend during Q2 (May to July) was £24.2bn, with £8.7bn spent via smartphones and tablet devices.

Alex Smith-Bingham, Vice President, Digital Services Leader, Capgemini, said: “Whether you’re shopping on your tablet from the comfort of your couch or on your smartphone during your daily commute, mobile offers the customer unparalleled convenience. It’s no wonder then that we’ve hit such a significant milestone in a relatively short period of time.

"As retailers further develop their m-commerce platforms and as the technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated, we’ll see the role of the desktop in our day-to-day shopping cycle diminish. It will be very interesting to see just how wide the gap between mobile and traditional e-retail will become in 12 months' time.”

Industry view

Mark Lewis, Online Director at John Lewis, said: "We called John Lewis's first ever 'mobile Christmas' in 2013 and we have continued to see customers shop via this channel during the first half of this year. Today, over half of the traffic to comes from mobile and tablet devices and we've also seen an increase in the conversion rate of traffic to sales. We've placed a significant focus on developing our mobile strategy and have more enhancements planned for our app later this year. Customers want to be able to shop seamlessly across all channels and mobile is now the go-to choice alongside visiting our shops."

Gareth Jones, group retail and strategy director at Shop Direct, said: “At Shop Direct, this quarter marked the first time that mobile devices accounted for 50% of our online sales – up from 47% the previous quarter and from just 35% the same time last year. This June, we also saw smartphone creep ahead of tablet as a sales channel for the first time.

“As a device, the smartphone is the fastest growing sales channel for us, highlighting our customers’ growing confidence in transacting on their phones. Later this year, we plan to launch new transactional apps for each of our digital department store brands to capitalise on this trend and ensure we keep pace with our customers constantly changing shopping habits.”

Sean McKee, Head of E-commerce and Customer Services at Schuh comments: "At Schuh mobile surged again in Q2, with smartphone visits exceeding desktop for the first time, total mobile device traffic averaging 62% and total mobile sales now running at 50%. Smartphone is still leading the way with heavy growth in visits, noticeably improving in geographies away from London, as Summer Sale and Back to School customers become increasingly used to the added convenience.”




Editors Notes:

Definition of visitor bounce rate - Percentage of visitors who enter the site and leave the site rather than continue viewing other pages within the same site - single page visitors, irrespective of which page.

The figures above are all taken from the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking, an additional reporting tool that is open to all participants in the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. The Quarterly Benchmarking tracks over 40 key performance indicators across 7 categories, leading to unique insights into the performance of the UK e-retail sector.

Around 40 retailers currently participate in the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking, including Addict, Airport Parking & Hotels, B&Q, Bank, Blacks, Brora, Cartridge People, Clarks, Crocus, Debenhams, Deckers, Dune, Dunelm Mill, Freeman Grattan Holdings (Freemans, Grattan, Look Again, Kaleidoscope, Curvissa, Swimear365, Witt International UK), Get The Label, Hobbs, Home & Cook, JD Sports, John Lewis, LK Bennett, M and M Direct, Marks & Spencer, Matalan, Millets, Moss Bros, New Look, Philip Kingsley, Schuh, Scott, Silentnight, Size, Sparkling Strawberry, Super GA, The Body Shop, The White Company & This is Pulp.

The quarters run as follows:

  • Quarter 1 - February to April 
  • Quarter 2 - May to July 
  • Quarter 3 - August to October 
  • Quarter 4 - November to January

About IMRG
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group) is the UK’s industry association for e-retail. Formed in 1990, IMRG is setting and maintaining pragmatic and robust e-retail standards to enable fast-track industry growth, and facilitates its community of members with practical help, information, tools, guidance and networking. The strength of IMRG is the collective and cooperative power of its members. For more information please visit or email

About Capgemini
With more than 130,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world's foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2013 global revenues of EUR 10.1 billion. Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business and technology solutions that fit their needs and drive the results they want. A deeply multicultural organisation, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model. Learn more about us at Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini

For press enquiries contact Richard Redman, PR and Communications Executive, IMRG.

t: 020 3696 0992 e:

Categories: Big Data, Mobile & Channel Development

02/09/2014 / demaine

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