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UK adults spend £179bn a year using mobile devices while out of home

Even in a year hit by Covid restrictions, British adults splashed £179bn using mobile devices in 2021 – representing more than half of all online spending.

Clothes were the highest-value category, with fashion-conscious shoppers using mobile to spend £30 bn on clothing while they were out and about. Food was also very much on our minds while we are on the move with grocery shopping (£29bn) and takeaways (£22bn) seeing the second and third highest m-commerce spend respectively.

Health and Beauty products (£20bn) and holidays also proved popular, with £8bn spent on international holidays and £8bn spent on UK breaks.

We’re most likely to make a purchase while on our daily commute with the average adult who has made a purchase on their commute doing so 4.6 times in a month – rising to 5 times a month among frequent commuters1. And, we’re almost as happy purchasing when we’re travelling for leisure (3.1 times per month on average), and while out shopping (3.0 times on average).

According to research by out of home advertising agency, Kinetic , Londoners were by far the biggest overall mobile spenders, accounting for well over half of all m-commerce spend among working age adults (£93bn). The South East of England (£17bn) and West Midlands (£13bn) complete the top three.

18–34-year-olds led the way among regular commuters both in number of purchases (5.8 per week) and total spend, logging £93 per week. However, the over 55s appear increasingly comfortable making purchases on the move, doing so 2.5 times per week with a weekly average spend of £62.

“This research paints a fascinating picture of people increasingly comfortable using their mobile device to spend while they are on the move,” says Sarah Robinson, Head of Insight at Kinetic. “While mobile purchasing outside the home is popular with young, urban professionals it really cuts across age, demographic and UK region. We’re at the point where we’re more likely to make an online purchase when we are out and about than we are when we are at home. And with people increasingly confident returning to work, retail, and outdoor leisure and events it’s a trend we are confident will continue. OOH is an important channel for influencing purchasing decisions and for brands the message is clear – the audience is out of home and confident spending on their mobile device.”

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