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UK consumers are mobile-using, multiscreening shoppers – and retailers must respond to succeed

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The average British shopper now owns 3.3 devices, goes online at least once a day and multiscreens while watching TV, according to new Google data.

More than half (51%) own tablet computers while 75% own personal computers, and 85% go online at least once a day, found the Google Consumer Barometer 2015. The tool, now in its fifth year, is designed to help advertisers understand how people use the internet around the world.

Multiscreening is commonplace, with 64% of Brits going online while they watch TV. Of that figure, 63% use their smartphone to multiscreen, while 36% use a tablet or computer. Nearly 71% have a smartphone compared to the European average of 61% while 60% search from their smartphone at least once a week. Businesses, says Google, must therefore think mobile – especially those serving local customers: 40% use smartphones to look for local products, prices and other information while 61% research locally in the day before they buy.

The study also found 49% research offline before they buy online, while 25% research their purchases online only.

“Consumer habits are changing fast, making it challenging for brands to understand and predict how and when it’s best to reach them,” said Peter Cory, agency sales director at Google. “In the UK alone, we’ve seen significant increases in the number of devices owned and that’s having a direct effect on the way consumers conduct their day-to-day lives – how they consume media, how they research products and how, when and where they buy.”

The Consumer Barometer, designed by Hive, covers 20 vertical sectors including clothing and footwear, home appliances, flights, hotels, cosmetics and groceries.

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