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Mobile purchases fuel online sales

AAP logoAAP 6/12/2016 Petrina Berry

Small online retailers are expanding their businesses more quickly and are hitting $1 million plus sales a year thanks to the growing trend for shoppers to buy goods via their smartphones.

Commonwealth Bank's latest retail research has found online and mobile sales are increasing at a "breakneck pace."

Sales through mobile devices rose from 18 per cent of all online purchases to 29 per cent in the past 12 months, with an average annual growth rate of 60 per cent, the CommBank Retail Insights report says.

The report says this growth is supporting the expansion of smaller, pure-play online retailers with the number of businesses generating between one and ten million dollars in annual turnover increasing by 133 per cent in the past 12 months.

Commonwealth Bank national manager of retail, Jerry Macey, said this trend was boosting online retailers' confidence and ability to compete with larger multi-channel retailers - those bricks-and-mortar stores that also have digital sales channels.

"Smaller online retail businesses are quickly achieving greater scale, with almost half now turning over more than a million dollars, and one in five generating revenue in excess of ten million," he said.

Booktopia chief executive Tony Nash said the online book retailer's mobile browsing and sales were on the rise as more people use their smartphones to buy items.

He said the only drawback with mobile phone purchases was that people tended to buy less.

"We find the size of the consumer basket is always a little bit more for a desktop or tablet sale, because there's only so much screen to work with on a mobile," Mr Nash said.

"It tends to limit the ability to browse the site somewhat."

The latest Retail Insights report is based on a survey of 500 retail business owners and senior managers from small, medium and large companies and a survey of about 1,000 shoppers.

The research also found online retailers had a more positive outlook on their future sales growth than the multi-channel players and that shoppers strongly disliked having to pay different prices online compared to what's in store.

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