Smartphones and tablets now account for almost a quarter of traffic for affiliate marketing campaigns, a massive six-fold increase in less than two years.

A new report from Affiliate Window shows that 22% of traffic and 18% of sales come through mobile and tablet devices, figures which respectively stood at just 3.5% and 5% back in November 2011.

The data comes from millions of sales and clicks recorded every month from more than 1,400 retailers’ and advertisers’ affiliate marketing campaigns.

Smartphones alone account for 13.6% of total traffic, which shows the importance of tablets for ecommerce as the devices drive a similar level of visits to smartphones despite a much lower penetration rate.

Percentage of affiliate traffic through smartphones

The data also shows the continued disparity between the level of traffic and sales achieved through smartphones, as despite accounting for 13.6% of traffic the devices drive just 7% of sales.

Furthermore, Affiliate Window’s stats show that tablets convert at around 5% compared to just 2% on smartphone.

This is part of an on-going trend as separate data from Kenshoo shows that smartphones account for 13% of paid search clicks but just 3.6% of conversions and 3.4% of revenue.

It therefore appears that consumers still prefer to use desktop and tablet devices to make purchases online. Data from our new Mobile Commerce Compendium shows that although 27% of smartphone owners said they had shopped online in the past week, just over half (51%) said they hadn’t made a purchase on their device in the preceding six months.

A further 26% of respondents had made fewer than three purchases using their smartphone, while only 12% had made seven or more transactions.

However the relatively low conversion rate doesn’t mean that brands can afford to ignore mobile shoppers altogether, as research and price comparison through mobile are an important part of the customer journey.

Additional data from our mobile report shows that more than half (57%) of smartphone owners have used their device to research product information while in-store.