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Half of smartphone owners now shop online via a mobile device

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Half of smartphone owners have now completed some sort of purchase on their mobile, increasing by 20% over just nine months, with 11% of smartphone shoppers now using the device to make a purchase on a weekly basis, according to research by eDigitalResearch and Portaltech.

The study also finds that smartphone owners are increasingly using their phones to shop, browse and research for products via their phones. More than a quarter (28%) now use their smartphone to find product information on a regular basis and remains one of the most popular shopping activities to complete on a phone.

The study looked at the increasing role of mobile in retail commerce and surveyed both smartphone and non-smartphone users. The results clearly show the continuing shift in consumer behaviour as more and more shoppers are adapting to new technologies, browsing, shopping and interacting with brands on the move.

Chris Russell, Director at eDigitalResearch, tells us: “This second study reinforces what our previous results have shown; that the dramatic increase in Smartphone use is fundamentally affecting consumer behaviour. We are entering into an age of MEcommerce; a shopping revolution where the consumer now has the power to dictate to retailers where, when and how they want to shop and interact”.

The results clearly indicate the growing trend that smartphones are being used more and more as an essential lifestyle accessory, with almost a 15% rise in the number of consumers interacting with mobile applications on a daily basis.

The results also show that consumers expectations of mobile websites have dramatically increased since the first research results last year; 31% of users now say that quick browsing should be an essential feature of mobile websites, compared with just 20% who said the same last June. Other significant factors that people see as essential include security, fast loading images, zoom functions and a professional looking site, reaffirming that consumers expect to find the same coherent retail message across channels.

Smartphone users who said that they never shopped online reduced from 70% last June to 49%, echoing the overall trend of growing consumer acceptance of m-commerce. Similarly, smartphone owners who said that they expected to browse and purchase more on their phones in the next 12 months more than doubled from 20% to 46% and firmly establishes the importance for retailers to continue to develop and invest in mobile.

Rachel Wilkinson, Head of Brand and Retail at Portaltech, explains: “I hope this research reassures reluctant retailers that mobile is not a flash in the pan, but a rapidly increasing channel that should be integrated into wider marketing, social and commercial strategies. Mobile is unique in that it is the most portable and accessible channel to a consumer – you are literally in the palm of your customer’s hands and this level of accessibility 24/7 allows retailers to deliver messaging, marketing or unique experiences in a totally different way from any other channel.”

Andrew Walker, CEO or Portaltech adds: “In the last year, mobile has gathered pace with retailers reporting traffic of between two and 12% via the mobile channel and Morgan & Stanley predict that by 2014, sales via a mobile device will overtake sales from a PC. The trends in multi channel and convergence within retail, are reinforcing the importance of a single integrated platform that can manage and support all the channels, including mobile.”

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