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Mobile shopping heads underground as 1.5million people browse and buy on the tube

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More than a third (39%) of Tube passengers are shopping underground daily, equating to 1.5 million people, according to mobile payment service, Pay by Bank app.

With the average Tube journey lasting 47 minutes, rush hour is the most popular time to shop. 33% of those asked shop on their morning commute, while even more are spending on their way home after a long day with 36% spending on their journey home.

The most tap happy Tube line is the Central line with nearly a fifth (19%) of all commuters spending on this busy line. The Central line is followed by the Northern (18%) and Victoria lines (14%).

Looking for ways to keep themselves entertained, the majority (61%) of commuters spend their time buying books, music and films, spending nearly £30 each every month on digital downloads. Others are see their commute as a perfect opportunity to carry out “life admin”; 37% spend an average of £77 on products such as insurance policies.

Other popular purchases include clothes (61%), takeaways (57%), tickets for activities such as the theatre (55%) and food shopping (53%).

The majority (55%) of Tube users are shopping underground purely because it passes the time, followed by the fact that it’s the most convenient time to shop (37%). As a city of busy professionals, nearly a quarter (24%) are favouring online shopping services that allow them to collect their purchase when they finally get home.

More than half (53%) would be convinced to do more shopping on their commute if they knew their banking details were safe, the checkout process was quicker and if the Wi-Fi service was better. Currently, free Wi-Fi is available at 250 of the 270 stations across the Transport for London network[

Commenting on the research, Liam Spence, Head of Product for Pay by Bank app – which is poised to go live with Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Halifax and Lloyds Bank – says: “Some commuters are on the Tube for two hours so it makes sense to use this ‘dead time’ to shop. But getting out your credit or debit card and then keying in a long sequence of numbers on a packed Tube is not the ideal checkout experience – especially if you’re using station Wi-Fi to quickly checkout between stops or while waiting for a train. If retailers are to capitalise on this they need to introduce quicker and safer mobile payment methods.”

The study reflects similar findings from a more general study of commuters from retail marketing agency Leapfrogg, which found that 83% of consumers read emails from retailers during the morning commute on their mobiles, but were more likely to purchase at lunchtime or dinner time.

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