September 24, 2013, 1:43 PM

Mobile accounts for 100% of online sales growth in the U.K.

And most of those mobile sales come from tablets, according to new research.

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The latest figures in U.K. online sales suggest if a technology is convenient and affordable, consumers will often eventually warm to it. Such was the case with online shopping more than a decade ago and it’s déjà vu all over again as new research shows sales stemming from mobile devices in the U.K. now accounted for all of the year-over-year online sales growth in the second quarter, with online sales growth via desktop computers flat-lining for the first quarter ever.

The estimates, from technology consultancy Capgemini and U.K. e-retail association Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG),mark the first time the two firms have stripped out all mobile sales data from overall online retail sales. The new research reveals that since Q1 2011, year-over-year online sales growth in the U.K. excluding mobile sales via smartphones and tablets, has fallen each quarter and in Q2 2013 for the first time online sales from desktop computers were flat compared to the same quarter a year earlier.

Additionally, 23% of all online retail sales in Q2 2013 came from mobile devices. The rapid pace of mobile sales growth led Capgemini and IMRG to revise their total online sales growth estimate for the year to 15%.

When it comes to mobile sales, tablet devices account for a massive 85% of mobile sales in the first half of 2013. Meanwhile, sales through smartphones grew at faster clip year over year in Q2, growing 210% compared with 130% for tablets.

Kate Smyth, director of e-commerce at footwear and accessories retailer Dune, says the recent research echos what her company has been experiencing in recent years. "The findings completely agree with what we have been seeing at Dune,” she says. “Mobile and tablets are becoming the dominant devices used to interact with a brand online. We have a mobile version of the site and we use mobile technology in store to help locate stock and reduce queues. But the roadmap for mobile and tablets is key as the devices become part of every household."

Chris Webster, head of retail and technology for Capgemini, adds that new smartphone technology such as the fingerprint scanner available on Apple Inc.’s new iPhone 5s may led to a greater increase in mobile sales. “We are still only scratching the surface of the ways we will use mobile devices to interact with digital services in our daily lives,” he says. “Fingerprint identification available on the latest smartphones will increase trust and personalization of these digital services.”

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