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November 12, 2012

Consumers will spend £1bn through mobiles this Christmas: report

Apple, Google, Amazon to reap benefit of tablet ecosystem

By Steve Evans

Consumers will spend nearly £1bn through their mobile devices in the run up to Christmas, up an estimated 15% on last year’s figure.

According to the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, UK shoppers will spend £4.6bn online over the two weeks commencing 3rd and 10th December, with £920m of that being spent on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

IMRG and Capgemini claim that rate at which consumers are shopping on their mobiles is increasing rapidly; during the first quarter of the year 8.2% of total e-retail sales were done through a mobile device. By the end of the forth quarter that figure is expected to be around 20%.

It is easy to see why shopping on a mobile device is becoming more popular. Apple, Amazon and Google have all released products that tie into their existing ecosystem. For example buying content and gifts from Apple’s App Store or iTunes, Google’s Play app store or Amazon’s online store is easy.

Other retailers, such as eBay, are expecting bumper sales this Christmas through apps available for mobile devices.

"Technology, and particularly mobile, have become catalysts for growth and have changed the way that we shop for good. The high street as we knew it, where the ‘showroom’ inside the four walls of the store was the centre of our shopping experience, has transformed forever. Consumers now carry a global store in their pocket allowing them to shop anytime, anywhere," said Olivier Ropars, senior director, Mobile, eBay.

"This year over half (55%) of UK consumers plan to use their mobile device more than they did last year to browse the web, while almost the same number say they’ll use mobile devices to get inspiration, check prices or product details (39%)," Ropars added, citing eBay research figures.

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He added that the online auction house expects 30% of all purchases made on the site this Christmas will be through mobile devices.

Chris Webster, head of retail and technology at Capgemini, added that retailers will reap the benefits of having a decent mobile offering.

"We have seen this year that mobile access is a must have, not a nice to have for retailers, with close to £1bn set to be spent via mobile devices this Christmas. Indeed, our research conducted in partnership with the MIT Center for Digital Business discovered that the most digitally advanced brands are 26% more profitable than competitors. Christmas 2012 will illustrate this better than ever before," he said.

The growth of people shopping through their mobile devices rather than in stores will continue to grow, according to IMRG CIO Tina Spooner.

"What we are seeing in this 20% mobile forecast is a shift in the way that consumers interact with brands online. While it is still common for consumers to browse the shops at weekends before making the final purchase online at Monday lunchtime, we are increasingly seeing the popularity of ‘second-screening’, where people browse on their mobile devices in front of the TV. Our recent research with eDigitalResearch found 80% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices in this way, so we can expect to see that 20% share continue to grow in 2013," she said.

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