Online purchases via tablets, smartphones to double by 2018

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Purchases made using tablets and mobile phones in the US are expected to double by 2018, climbing from $114 billion this year to $293 billion by 2018, according to a technology and market research firm.

The majority of this year’s purchases will be made via tablets, racking up $76 billion in purchases compared to the $38 billion worth of transactions expected to be made via smartphones. By the end of 2014, total US online retail sales are expected to hit $294 billion, said Forrester Research Inc.

The projected increase comes on the back of a surge in mobile traffic and sales recorded by IBM Corp.’s Smarter Commerce unit during the long Thanksgiving weekend last year.

During that period, mobile traffic made up 40 per cent of the total online traffic, while actual sales hit approximately 23 per cent of the overall online sales, up by over 43 per cent from 2012.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by Shop.org and Forrester showed that the majority of retailers listed tablet and mobile phone strategies as their main area of focus.

Sucharita Mulpuru, an analyst at Forrester and author of the report, said: “They have to think about how to make sure that they are capturing as much volume as they can on these devices and that they don’t lose customers because the experience is slow or because the page doesn’t load.”

Forrester noted that the number of customers making online purchases via tablets would grow faster than those making purchases via mobile phones.

In fact, around 31 per cent of tablet owners and 38 per cent of smartphone owners will make online purchases using these devices this year. These figures are expected to increase to 61 and 55 per cent respectively by 2018.

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