According to the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmark, online sales made via mobile devices fell at the start of 2016, from 51.3% in Q4 of 2015, to 49.6% between February and April this year.
It is the first time a decline in sales on mobile devices has ever been recorded.
Visits to online retail sites via mobile devices also fell, from 65.6% in Q4 of 2015 to 64.6% at the start of this year.
The decline is an unexpected one, given that many forecasts have previously suggested a continual upward curve in mobile sales for at least another two years.
However, Tim Spooner, chief information officer for IMRG, states the dip is influenced by a higher than predicted decline in tablet use, and that smartphone sales were still on the rise.
“Back in 2010 mobile devices accounted for less than 1% of online retail sales and this increased rapidly over a few years to exceed 50% in the last quarter,” he said.
“However, these latest results appear to track the effects of some displacement activity we are seeing in relation to sales made through mobile devices.
“While the majority of these sales still come through tablets, shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones in situations where they would previously have used a tablet – the screen sizes have become larger, retailers have focused on optimising the experience for smartphone users and consumers are becoming increasingly confident in using these devices for a wide range of activities.”
Smartphone sales are widely expected to subsume desktop and tablet sales in coming years. Last year, ONS figures revealed that 96% of UK adults now access the internet through a mobile phone, more than doubling from just 24% in 2010.
However, many retail brands are struggling to keep up with delivering effective web experiences to meet the rapid shift towards mobile use. New stats released today from Dynatrace have revealed that retail websites are on average 7% slower in 2016 than they were in 2015.
Chris was an Editor at MyCustomer from 2014 to 2022. He is a practiced editor, having worked as a copywriter for creative agency, Stranger Collective from 2009 to 2011 and subsequently as a journalist covering technology, marketing and customer service from 2011-2014 as editor of Business Cloud News.