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Growing consumer demand for m-commerce led total online spend to top £6.7bn in October as total growth was 14% year-on-year according to research from the IMRG.

Domino’s Pizza’s third quarter sales were driven by an increase in e-commerce sales, particularly from mobile devices.

The online retail trade body’s eRetail Sales Index, conducted by Capgemini, revealed that the total equated to a 5% increase from the previous month, although fell short of earlier forecasts.

M-commerce grew 261% year-on-year according to the study which also found that online-only retailers exceeding multichannel retailers on year-on-year growth.

The study also found that the gifting vertical grew 62% month on month during the surveyed period and the health and beauty sector experiencing a 20% change month on month.

Andrew McClelland, IMRG managing director, said, “14% is a solid result for the October Index figures, albeit just below our quarterly forecast of 15% for Q4. This year we really expect online sales to hit their peak in early December.”

See chart below for a more detailed breakdown of the study which tracks online sales from over 100 online-only and multi-channel retailers.  

Source: IMRG

The study additionally reiterated the IMRG and Capgemini’s earlier forecast that online spend will hit £4.6bn in the two weeks from December 3, 2012.

In addition to this, the pair also forecast that 20% of all this year’s online purchases made during the peak Christmas trading season will be performed on mobile devices with the total value of such transactions totalling £920m.

Speaking at the time of the initial forecast, Tina Spooner, IMRG CIO, said, “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.”

Chris Webster, Capgemini’s head of retail consulting and technology, said, “There is much growth to be tapped in the internet market but knowing your target audience and matching their expectation with your offering is crucial. The explosion in m-commerce suggests that retailers are meeting this expectation and satisfying customer demand.

The growth in demand for m-commerce is being spurred as consumer demand for smartphones, and increasingly tablet devices, grows unabated (nma.co.uk 29 Oct 2012).

The definition of a smartphone and tablet is about to become increasingly blurred with a host of smaller-sized tablet devices, such as the iPad Mini and lower-priced Android-powered devices, entering the market (nma.co.uk 13 Nov 2012).

This is prompting experimentation from retailers seeing increasing amount of traffic from tablet devices with multi-channel retailer Shop Direct Group which has just appointed mobile-specialist agency Somo to fine-tune its mobile strategy.

Jonathan Wall, Shop Direct Group, ecommerce director, said, “Seven-inch tablets are the biggest area of research at the moment,” adding that it would begin a testing programme for seven-inch tablet devices within weeks.”

The purpose of these experiments will be to discern whether or not it is better to serve such devices with websites optimised for mobile or desktop, he added.

“We jumped into mobile about two years ago with a fashion app for Very but over the past 18 months the focus has been on mobile-optimised websites across all our brands,” said Wall.  

The multi-channel retailer also has a number of specific catalogue apps for its retail brands which will be followed with launches “for specific parts of the user journey” in the New Year.

Vinny Hayes, SVP of business development at Somo, said, “We’ll be looking to help implement a joined-up approach as up to a third of traffic comes from mobile devices and we can show how all of these products can produce value.

“[The mobile-focus] is coming from senior levels of businesses now. One of the key things prompting this is the acceleration of device uptake,” he added.  

Meanwhile, Asda is also experimenting with its digital line-up, particularly in the tablet sector. Speaking last week at a public event, Judith McKenna, Asda COO, said, it would look to develop products for tablets.

“[We] absolutely want to be on every format that there is. That’s one of the benefits of working with Wal-mart as well. We should see an iPad app at the start of next year. And do you know what, something else may come along [i.e. another platform device, etc] but that’s the advantage for us [of being part of Wal-mart]. It’s not just us trying to develop all those things on our own.”

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Published 19 November, 2012 by NMA Staff

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