Responsive design is widely accepted to be the most effective way of accommodating the consumer shift towards mobile technologies, yet a new report from the IAB suggests that companies have been relatively slow on the up take.

Just 11% of the UK’s 100 highest spending advertisers currently use responsive design, including Nissan, Direct Line, Go Compare, Microsoft and Chanel.

Some sectors have been quicker on the uptake than others, but due to the small sample size it’s difficult to really drill down into the percentages.

And though the number of brands that have gone responsive remains quite low, the report also found that in August 2013 58% of the top 100 advertisers in 2012 had mobile optimised websites.

Our own research among Econsultancy subscribers found that 46% of businesses use responsive design, however it’s important to bear in mind that our users tend to work for more digitally-savvy companies, so this isn’t reflective of all businesses.

Benefits of responsive design

The improved UX that generally comes after a shift to responsive design has an inevitable impact on conversion rates, so it’s likely that we’ll see more businesses adopting the technology in the near future.

For example, after going responsive O’Neill Clothing found that on iPhone/iPod:

  • Conversions increased by 65.71%.
  • Transactions went up 112.5%.
  • Revenue increased by 101.25%.

Similarly, Skinny Ties launched a responsive site in October 2012 and within a matter of weeks noticed a massive improvement on sales metrics compared to the previous three months:

  • Revenue from all devices increased by 42.4%.
  • The conversion rate improved by 13.6%.
  • Revenue from iPhone grew by 377.6%.
  • The conversion rate for iPhone increased by 71.9%.
  • The site’s bounce rate fell by 23.2%.
  • Visit duration increased by 44.6%.

Obviously it would be a gross oversimplification to suggest that using responsive design was the sole factor behind the impressive results achieved by each of these websites, but it is certainly an important element.

Designing for mobile

Separate research by Econsultancy/RedEye found that the proportion of organisations that are designing their websites specifically for mobile phones (35%) and tablets (23%) has increased by 10% in both cases since 2011.

However, around four in five companies still don’t design their websites specifically for mobile phones or tablets.

These companies are missing a trick, as 62% of companies that designed a website specifically for mobile and 64% of companies that designed a website specifically for tablets had increased sales.

Have you designed your website specifically for either of the following?