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44% of British shoppers now use mobile to browse a retailer’s website

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Recent comments by Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer’s that 2014 is the tipping point for mobile retail has been backed up by a survey of 2007 UK adults which has found that 44% of them now shop online using their smartphone.

In potentially heartening news for the much-maligned high street, 29% of shoppers would rather visit a physical store than make a purchase via their mobile, a tacit endorsement of a retail strategy that blends ‘bricks’ with ‘clicks’. With 7 in 10 (72%) of people in the UK owning a smartphone, there is huge scope for retailers to reach out even further.

The research by global retail technology group Omnico however also highlights a number of consumer gripes that are preventing the public from fully embracing the idea of shopping online via a mobile device.

A third (33%) of British shoppers cite security concerns as preventing them mobile shopping, a worry that recent hacking revelations are likely to inflame. Despite a range of online payments available, retailers appear dazed by the number of payment providers springing up and are slow to make a commitment.

This concern could easily be navigated if they chose a flexible integration point which, in essence, allows them to do something now and still have scope for change in the future.

Around a third (31%) say that small smartphone screens deter them, partly explaining the popularity of larger mobile devices, dubbed phablets. Again with dynamically designed sites and specialist apps this is another barrier that can easily be overcome.

Steve Thomas, CTO of Omnico Group, explains: “Whilst the rise of mobile shopping is undeniable, it is clear that there is still a huge untapped audience to be converted. We are increasingly engaging with retailers that just want to make a start on this path and come to us to leverage the experience we can give them from successfully delivering programmes in these areas. Indeed, our research shows that retailers must remember that they need to innovate across all channels in order to reap the maximum benefits.”

He adds: “The key is giving customers the best possible experience regardless of which channel, or combination of channels, they use.”

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