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4G users more likely to shop from their smartphone

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More than two thirds (68%) of 4G users feel that faster access to the internet encourages them to make more purchases from their smartphone, according to the latest consumer research from Voice of the Customer specialist eDigitalResearch and online retail body IMRG.

IMRG and eDigitalResearch first researched the 4G market in April 2013 and found that the continued roll out of 4G was likely to have a positive impact on how often consumers would shop and browse from their smartphone.

The latest results reveal that 4G users are much more engaged with the online and digital retail sphere than their 3G smartphone counterparts. Over half (54%) of 4G users surveyed have shopped online from their mobile compared to just under a third (32%) of non-4G smartphone owners. Similarly, almost three quarters (70%) of 4G users have browsed retail websites from their mobile, compared to under half (48%) of non-4G users who have done the same.

It is no surprise then that 4G users are more likely to turn to their smartphone first before other channels to shop and browse compared to non-4G users. Just 2% of smartphone owners state that mobile sites or apps are their first port of call when they shop and browse, compared to 11% of 4G users who said the same.

According to the results, around 1 in 5 (19%) of consumers now own a 4G enabled smartphone device – 62% of whom have used 4G to access the internet when browsing from their mobile- compared to just 9% of consumers who had access to the technology this time last year.

Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, explains: “With over half of 4G users having shopped via their smartphones, compared with around a third of their 3G counterparts, it is clear that faster access brings a higher level of customer engagement via mobile. During the mid-2000’s we saw a similar trend in overall e-retail, when the adoption of faster broadband connections resulted in a surge in online sales

“Mobile has become an integral part of the online shopping journey, with a third of UK e-retail sales now coming via smartphone and tablet devices. Although tablets currently account for the lion’s share of m-retail, as 4G adoption increases and more users sign up to high-speed mobile internet services, there is little doubt we will see an increasing number of consumers shopping on the move.”

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, adds: “As a nation, we were relatively slow to adopt 4G compared to other countries. However, now it’s here, these results demonstrate that the technology is likely to have a real impact on our shopping and browsing habits as UK networks charge ahead with their planned roll out to more locations and more users – mobile is likely to become even more pivotal for retailers with more of us shopping and browsing from our smartphones, both inside the home and out and about”.

According to the results, awareness of 4G with UK consumers is extremely high following the roll out of faster mobile internet speeds by various networks – just 11% of the 2,000 consumer surveyed said that they had not heard of 4G before. Whilst many feel that the introduction of 4G will mean costly phone contracts and higher data charges, one third (31%) of those surveyed feel that 4G has more advantages than disadvantages attached to it – a figure that increases to 69% for those that have used the technology before.

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