Mobile retailing has exploded in the past year, with almost one third of shoppers having used an m-commerce site, and the number of people completing a transaction quadrupling, new research suggests.
The research, conducted by ForeSee, examined the habits of 10,000 shoppers with the largest online retailers over the Christmas period, and extrapolated the results to show annual trends.
Almost a third (32 per cent) of respondents used their mobile phone to access a retailer website, and an additional 32 per cent indicated they planned to access retailer websites or mobile apps by phone in the future.
Kevin Ertell, vice-president of retail strategy at ForeSee Results, said: "It looks like nearly two-thirds of all shoppers in the UK will soon be using their mobile phones for retail purposes, if they aren't already.
"Any retailer not actively working to develop, measure, and refine its mobile experience is leaving money on the table for competitors."
The research also suggests a massive increase in mobile transactions, up from just 2 per cent of web shoppers using their phone to buy last year to 8 per cent this year. In the US, the figure is even higher, standing at 11 per cent.
Shoppers did not just use their phones to shop, the research suggests. Almost half (47 per cent) used their phone to compare prices, while one third (34 per cent) compared products. A fifth looked at product specifications and 15 per cent compared reviews.
In-store, more than two-thirds of mobile shoppers (67 per cent) used their phones to visit that store's website, but 26 per cent looked at a competitor's website, up from 17 per cent last year.
However, customers were less satisfied with the shopping experience via mobile.
Shoppers gave retail websites an average of 72 out of 100 points for satisfaction, but on mobile, this declined to 67.
In the US, both scores were higher - 78 out of 100 points or websites and 75 for mobile experiences.
Larry Freed, chief executive of ForeSee, said: "It's true that mobile sites have far less maturity than traditional e-retail websites. But I'm not sure that matters to consumers.
"Their expectations are being set by the best websites and the best mobile experiences. They aren't going to have a lot of patience for excuses about the challenges that mobile shopping presents when it comes to design and usability. Retailers in both the US and the UK need to step up their game in this area."
Further research suggests good mobile shopping experiences reinforce brand loyalty, with 32 per cent more likely to buy online and 31 per cent more likely to buy offline, or recommend.
Ertell said: "It's another reminder and a nice way to quantify that every customer touch point matters to overall loyalty and sales. Retailers cannot afford to ignore or even neglect the mobile experience and assume it won't hurt their traditional online or in-store business."
Research in the run-up to Christmas suggested 20 per cent of shoppers would use mobile to buy over the festive season, while Tesco already claims 10 per cent use their phones to shop.
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