More than one in 10 (11 percent) of retailers said they expect more than half of online sales to be made on a smartphone or tablet device by the end of this year, according to the newly published Integrated Management Resources Group (IMRG) e-Retail Survey.

The figure is up from 4 percent in 2013, when the last e-Retail Survey was conducted, highlighting the growing importance of the mobile channel for e-retailers.

“Mobile continues to dominate the e-retail landscape, with sales via mobile devices now accounting for a third of UK e-retail sales,” says Tina Spooner, IMRG chief information officer. “The latest survey results also reveal that mobile has a key part to play in the multichannel retail environment, with three-quarters of high street / multichannel retailers now having a mobile-optimized website, compared with just over half of pure-play merchants. With an increasing number of consumers now using their mobile devices to browse and compare products while in-store, it is no surprise that mobile has become an integral part of retailers’ multichannel strategies.”

Spooner added that the survey results also reveal an increasing optimism among retailers around their expectations of online sales growth during 2014. While almost all merchants surveyed said they expect to see positive year-on-year sales growth, a significant proportion (42 percent) forecast sales growth to reach in excess of 20 percent.

Additionally, around two thirds (67 percent) of multichannel retailers surveyed now offer “click and collect,” a significant increase from 54 percent in October, according to the survey. Click and collect refers to buying an item online then picking it up in a store, rather than having it delivered. The convenience of click and collect and certainty of not missing deliveries encourages customers to opt for this method, enhancing the overall customer experience, according to Spooner.

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