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Smartphone supremacy predicted as tablet influence falters

01 January 2018 - 09:47 by Mike Price

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New figures from eMarketer suggest that 2017 will be the year in which tablets were toppled by smartphones in terms of the amount consumers use them to make purchases online.

In past years, the bigger screens of tablets have made them a natural choice for people looking to browse e-commerce sites and complete transactions. But with smartphones increasing in size, the gap has been closing.

Forty nine point seven per cent of sales made through mobile devices in 2017 were from smart handsets, while tablets made do with a slightly slimmer 49.4 per cent slice. The remaining portion is accounted for by those still using traditional feature phones to carry out safe shopping online, according to Internet Retailing.

The tablet market has long passed its peak, with the launch of the iPad in 2010 helping to create massive interest which eventually ebbed. Mobiles have taken a long time to catch up, but now the tables seem to have turned for good.

Analysts also expect that the growth of e-commerce will continue over the next few years, steadily eating into the bricks and mortar marketplace. Its share will increase from 19 per cent up to 25.4 per cent by 2021; by comparison just nine per cent of sales in America are generated through digital channels.

Report spokesperson, Bill Fisher, said that Britain was second only to China in terms of its love of online shopping. He argued that the economic instability which has been instigated by the Brexit vote is actually helping to boost the uptake of e-commerce, with consumers looking for better deals as prices increase on the high street.

If the current uncertainty continues, as well it might, then the web will secure even more sales, with mobile phones leading the way.