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Consumers use e-commerce sites for bumper back to school shopping season

14 September 2015 - 10:02 by Paul Tissington

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August 2015 saw a 14 per cent rise in sales made online when compared with the same period last year, according to a new report from IBM. And analysts are arguing that this rapid increase was partly the result of parents carrying out a back to school buying blitz before the new term in September.

The amount of web traffic and online sales generated by smartphones and tablets was also higher, with 61.7 per cent of all internet activity carried out from portable devices last month. Meanwhile, 42.8 per cent of all e-commerce sales came from mobile shoppers.

IBM’s study also looked at the hardware trends which are helping to boost mobile shopping activities, with the growing number of devices offering displays measuring five inches or more in size allowing consumers to get a better overall experience.

Tablets are still the preferred platform for actual mobile purchases, accounting for just over a quarter of all sales made via safe shopping online. People are also happy to spend more money when using a tablet, with average basket values £10 higher than smartphones.

Report spokesperson, James Lovell, said that since consumers are able to research products on their smartphones and enjoy the benefits of larger displays being common, retailers must look to see how they can cater to this audience with updated site designs.

Lovell also pointed out that for some consumers, the convoluted nature of the checkout process found on some m-commerce sites was hindering their willingness to shop online from smartphones. So even with rapid increases in sales, retailers can still run the risk of alienating customers and stopping them from embracing mobile shopping.

September may not be able to match August for sales growth, but with the Christmas shopping season just around the corner, more major spending increases are likely.