Nearly half of all e-commerce transactions in the UK are now taking place on mobile devices (49.9%), according to data released today (May 5) by Criteo.

According to the ad tech leader, mobile commerce is at a “tipping point”, having jumped up 6% since the same time last year, as it continues to transform the UK’s retail environment.

The findings come as part of a study of 1.4 billion online transactions throughout the first quarter of 2016, and unearth a number of developments as mobile purchases soar to ever-greater popularity among British consumers.

Purchases on iPhones leapt up 7% in the year following the launch of Apple Pay in 2014, and the handset model now claims nearly a fifth (19%) of all m-commerce transactions on its own, ‘leapfrogging’ iPads as the UK’s primary device for mobile shopping.

As expected, the research also suggests that consumers are no longer distinguishing between separate devices when making purchase decisions, with some four in 10 (39%) of online sales making use of multiple devices en route to checkout.

Hotline sectors

It may come as no surprise that the fashion and luxury market takes the leading mobile sales share with 55%. The sector is aided by the prevalence of social media platforms like Instagram in influencing buying decisions.

On this sector’s tail are mass merchants, similar to Amazon and eBay, weighing in with 50% of sales via mobile, while home-related goods took some 46.8% of revenue via m-commerce.

According to the report, apps continue to be the main driving force behind growth in m-commerce, even outside of the UK, constituting nearly two thirds (65%) of transactions globally.

Off the back of the findings, some parting words of advice came from Jon Buss, Criteo’s managing director for Northern Europe, for marketers looking to tap into ever-growing popularity of mobile as a first choice for shopping.

“Consumers now expect a highly personalised experience at all stages of the purchase journey,” he commented.

“With mobile now accounting for almost half of all e-commerce transactions in the UK, the successful retailers will be those who can target people rather than devices, delivering tailored and personal shopping experiences that span digital and in-store.”