Nearly half (46%) of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) online retailers have improved their mobile shopping experience prior to the festive season, according to Royal Mail.

The research found that twice as many small retailers enhanced their mobile experience than had planned to at the start of the year.

Of those that have invested in mobile, 65% of small online businesses have developed or improved a mobile app in time for Christmas. One in four small retailers have enhanced the accessibility of an existing mobile website. Another 24% have created a mobile optimised website for the first time.

The growth of mobile shopping for small online retailers also means they have become more accessible to consumers – nearly a third (30%) are receiving orders earlier and later in the day- and are reaching further – nearly a fifth (19%) report an increase in international orders.

To improve Christmas sales, nearly a third (32%) of small online businesses are planning on working longer days to fulfill orders in the run up to Christmas.

Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: "The actual investment made by small online retailers in their m-commerce capabilities has eclipsed their own predictions. As smaller retailers seek to offer customers a more flexible and immediate shopping experience via their mobile device, they will be under more pressure to ensure that orders are shipped as quickly and efficiently as possible. If small retailers are to match the heightened expectations that this brings, they will need to give even more thought to fulfillment and delivery partners."