According to research and consulting firm GlobalData, sales of tablet devices are declining as consumers now prefer to spend their time just using smartphones. The company believe this will lead to spend via smartphones to outperform spend via tablets, with smartphone spend to account for a total of 51.5 percent of the UK mobile and tablet market in 2018.

GlobalData has noted a shift in consumer behaviour over the last five years and claims that smartphones are now used as the number one information source in daily life. Technology developments for smartphones, such as better internet connections and larger phone screens, have contributed to this surge in popularity. The company estimates that spending through smartphones will increase by an astounding 112 percent over the next five years, amounting to 23.8 percent of all online sales.

The report claims that these consumer spending habits are largely driven by other market sectors. Retail Analyst at GlobalData, Charlotte Pearce explains, “Food and grocery and clothing and footwear retailers in particular are driving spending via smartphone, and the clothing & footwear sector will account for 42 percent of all smartphone spend by 2022. This is largely boosted by online pureplays such as ASOS and, which target younger shoppers who are more willing to purchase on a mobile phone; these kind of fast fashion pureplays are already experiencing high penetration from smartphones at around 70 percent of all traffic.”

GlobalData suggests that to capitalise on this, retailers should encourage downloads of their mobile apps by adding features that aid conversion and improve functionality. By making services easily accessible in one place, consumers will be encouraged to go straight to the app before looking elsewhere, therefore increasing brand loyalty and sales.

Pearce says, “In an increasingly competitive market where consumers are also shifting their spend from retail to leisure, loyalty schemes have become a hot topic aimed at driving spend per head, with many retailers launching programmes in the past year. Retailers should use promotional activity to drive awareness of new apps and the benefits of using these to encourage downloads and repeat app use.”