M-commerce staged an impressive annual growth of 261% last month, highlighting once again the critical importance of mobile devices to the UK retail industry, I read in a report prepared by e-retail specialist IMRG and consulting firm Capgemini.
The strong rise in sales completed on mobile platforms supports the forecast, which was revealed previously in the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, that 20% of all online purchases, or nearly £1 billion, will be made via smartphones and tablets in the peak shopping weeks leading up to Christmas.
Overall, online retail sales went up by 14% on the year and by 5% on the month to £6.7 billion in October, figures chiefly driven by gift purchases, which surged 62% when compared with September. The strong momentum that e-commerce experienced last month, along with the projected 15% increase in online shopping to £4.6 billion in the first two weeks of December, are pushing the segment closer to a record year-on-year growth of 14% in sales during the festive season.
The report also proved that online-only retailers are faring better than their multichannel peers when compared with last year, with the growth gap between the two segments broadening to 5% in October.
A break-up by industry type shows that the electronics sector enjoyed both a month-on-month and year-on-year sales growth to 14%, its biggest annual spike in sales since July, which the report explained as the effect of the roll-out of the iPhone5 in late September.
The general outlook for the performance of online retail this year is quite upbeat and sector players are likely to see solid sales around Christmas, Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, commented.