The percentage of online sales made through mobile devices fell in the first quarter of this year, marking the first decrease on record.

Online retail purchases made through a mobile device slipped to 49.6% in the first quarter of 2016, down from 51.3% in the previous quarter, according to the IMRG Capgemini quarterly benchmark.

This is the first decline in mobile penetration since the benchmark started tracking the measure in 2010.

The number of shoppers visiting ecommerce websites from smartphones and tablets also recorded a 1% decline to 64.6%.

IMRG attributed the fall in overall mobile penetration to the increasingly marked split in smartphone versus tablet usage – while sales through smartphones soared 83% in April, purchases from a tablet reported sluggish growth of 3%.

Chief information officer Tina Spooner said: “These latest results appear to track the effects of some displacement activity we are seeing in relation to sales made through mobile devices.

“While the majority of these sales still come through tablets, shoppers are increasingly using their smartphones in situations where they would previously have used a tablet – the screen sizes have become larger, retailers have focused on optimising the experience for smartphone users and consumers are becoming increasingly confident in using these devices for a wide range of activities.”

Capgemini’s management consultant in retail customer engagement design, Bhavesh Unadkat, added: “What we’re also seeing is that people are spending even more time on their mobile than in the previous quarter, so there is certainly a huge opportunity for retailers.

”To capitalise on this, retailers should focus on executing a mobile lead shopping experience – one which enhances the in-store journey and offers the same features as shopping on a desktop computer.”