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Shopping on mobile devices set to increase by 53% this year in UK as m-commerce booms globally, finds Centre for Retail Research/Kelkoo study

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Shopping on mobile devices in the UK is set to increase by 53% in the next 12 months hitting £4.5billion, making the British the biggest mobile shoppers in Europe for the third year running followed by Germany (£2.7bn) and France (£1.9bn), finds a new study commissioned by Kelkoo and carried out by the Centre for Retail Research.

Last year, almost half (46%) of mobile users in the UK owned a smartphone which led to shoppers spending a total of £3billion on mobile devices (£192 each on average), representing 8% of total online spend. There are an estimated 24.6 million smartphones currently in the UK – up from virtually zero in 2005.

The report reveals that, for the third year running, consumers in the UK are predicted to be the biggest mobile shoppers in Europe in 2012 and are expected to spend £4.5billion using mobile devices. This has increased from just £0.7billion in 2010, accelerated growth of 584% in just two years.

With total UK online sales set to increase by 14% in 2012 and smartphone usage at a record high, shopping using mobile devices will become an increasingly important part of retail sales, set to represent 8% of all online retail spending in the UK this year.

The UK is also expected to top this year’s European league for the highest proportion of all online spending using a mobile at 7.9%. Conversely, those in Poland (4.1%), France (4.6%) Denmark (5%) and Italy (5.3%) are expected to spend the lowest proportion of their online budget on their mobiles.

With 38% of all mobile users across Europe owning a smartphone – totalling 122.8 million phones in 2011 – the prevalence of mobile retail in Europe is expected to increase. In fact, the UK tops the European table again for smartphone ownership with 46% of mobile phone users owning a smartphone, accounting for 24.6 million phones in the UK.

When we look at spending per person, the UK also comes out on top – spending the most through their mobile devices in 2011 at £192 each. Despite having the third lowest overall mobile spend in 2011, those in Norway actually spent the second highest amount via a mobile device per person at £160, quickly followed by those in Sweden (£147). All of these countries are higher than the European average of £99. Comparatively, those in Italy (£23), Spain (£43) and Poland (£45) spent the least.

Chris Simpson, CMO Kelkoo, says: “Over the last two years, shopping on mobile phones has increased exponentially as a result of simple and secure payment systems, better functionality and increased uptake of ‘always on’ mobile devices such as iPads and tablets. The fact that mobile retailing in the UK has grown by a staggering 584% since 2010 alone highlights how UK consumers are going beyond the PC to find the best online prices wherever they are. At Kelkoo we’ve seen phenomenal growth in mobile shopping comparisons and we’ll be working with our retailers to make the mobile shopping experience as easy as possible from comparison to purchase.

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