One in five online purchases could be through a mobile devices by Christmas, new research has forecast.

IMRG expects sales through mobile devices could reach 20% by Christmas while site visits through the channel are forecast to hit 30%.

This forecast follows the latest results from the IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Index, which found that the percentage of sales through mobile devices rose to 11.6% in the second quarter of 2012, up from 8.2% in the first quarter.

Since the beginning of 2010 the penetration of mobile in terms of UK online retail sales has soared 2,900%, rising from just 0.4% of online sales in the first quarter of 2010 to 11.6% in the last quarter.

Site visits through mobile devices also rose significantly in the second quarter, reaching 21.1% of visits to UK etailer’s websites, up from 16.4% in the previous quarter.

The research also revealed that the visitor bounce rate rose to its highest level since records began two and a half years ago at 29% as consumers become ever-more demanding when it comes to initial site engagement. Basket abandonment rates fell 5% to 55%.

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said: “While the share of online sales going through mobile devices continues to grow impressively, the actual final conversion side of it is only part of the story. Mobile has placed retailers, symbolically perhaps, in the palms of consumers’ hands, removing many former borders and expanding the contexts and times that engagement can happen.

“With the phenomenal growth seen in m-retail sales and visits, inevitably this also impacts the website visitor bounce rates, with fickle consumers easily able to compare and browse across multiple websites before completing a purchase.”