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Mobile devices fuel festive e-commerce rush

01 December 2011 - 10:22 by Mike Price

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Records for shopping online have been set this week, as millions of people spend billions of pounds around the globe to prepare for Christmas, with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets perpetuating the widespread uptake of e-commerce.

While the number of people buying goods online during the busiest two days of the retail calendar was up by a quarter, IBM has published figures that suggest the total spend increased by 40 per cent year on year, which indicated that individual buyers are spending more during each transaction.

The huge market in America contributed to November sales of around £8.1 billion via safe shopping online, according to ComScore.

Interestingly, the UK was not far behind the US when it came to single day sales figures, with the so-called Black Friday event of last week netting £523 million in America, compared to £303 million spent by Brits on this week's Mega Monday spree.

Experts are agreed about the fact that more people are turning to e-commerce sites, not just because of the lower prices and added convenience when compared with the high street, but also because they have simple access to online stores via their smartphones and tablets.

Most modern mobiles are powerful enough to let users browse the web quickly and make purchases from dedicated mobile sites or bespoke retailer applications.

The rise of the Apple iPad and its gaggle of copycats has also made online shopping more appealing because users can lounge in front of the TV and buy all of their Christmas gifts, without having to crouch over a laptop or hunch in front of a desktop computer.

Of course the chances are that many people in the UK were using a tablet computer or smartphone in order to buy yet more tablets and mobiles for friends and family, further spreading easy e-commerce access.