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UK consumers do more online shopping on mobile than rest of Europe, finds Google as it launches site to help brands exploit mobile

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The UK has the highest percentage of people who make a purchase every month on their smartphone (32%) out of 18 European countries, including France (8%), Germany (15%), Italy (8%) and Sweden (19%). This is the key finding from new Google-commissioned TNS research, which explores the growing importance of online platforms in the consumer journey, from research to purchase. The finding comes as Google launches a new website to help brands improve their website design and accessibility across mobile platforms.

With consumers increasingly shopping and browsing on mobile, the new Google “Multi-screen resources” website offers advice, case studies, tips and insights to help businesses looking to set up or improve their mobile site. This includes support on all available options, from Responsive Web Design, to Dynamic Serving and separate mobile sites.

Some brands have already recognised the importance of this approach. Autoglass®, the UK’s leader in vehicle glass repair and replacement, invested in a mobile-optimised site in 2010 to reach more customers on the go and increase sales leads. Overall, mobile bookings are up by 11% and clicks are up by 53% year on year.

Plusnet, a provider of broadband and phone services, built a website using responsive web design to facilitate site conversions on all devices and improve user experience. The business has seen online sales via smartphones and tablets grow tenfold year on year.

Matt Brocklehurst, Product Marketing Manager at Google, explains: “In the UK, people are increasingly using their smartphones for researching products, locating stores and making purchases. That’s why it is now essential for businesses to ensure their sites are mobile-ready. However, adapting or creating a website to work seamlessly across smartphones, tablets and desktops is a significant and ongoing undertaking. We hope our new resource will help companies who already have a mobile-friendly site improve its performance, and those in the planning stages find the right route for them, whether that’s responsive web design, dynamic serving or a separate mobile site.”

Underscoring the increasing extent to which Brits rely on their smartphones, the study found that smartphone usage in the UK has increased from 62% in 2013 to 68% in 2014.

Looking more broadly at internet usage across devices, it was found that 83% of UK online consumers use the internet daily in 2014 and 64% several times a day, compared to 75% and 57% respectfully in 2013.

When asked about their activities, it was discovered that more UK online consumers purchased on the internet in 2014 than 2013 (77% compared to 72%). Watching online video content has become increasingly popular, rising from 61% in 2013 to 66% in 2014. Visiting social networks has also gained popularity (72% in 2014 compared to 64% in 2013).

Google’s top ten tips for multi-screen site development

1. Be sure of search: make sure mobile users can easily access your site through search

2. Focus on speed: smaller images and careful coding can help

3. Design for key tasks: re-evaluate the key tasks for your mobile users and design for them

4. Identify users’ needs: your homepage should guide users to the right place

5. Aid moving between screens: give ways to share and save content to revisit on another device

6.Be touch friendly: users should never feel the need to pinch and zoom

7.Simplify checkout: use default inputs, user data and good error design for easier-to-use forms

8.Don’t rely on mouse overs: users on touch devices simply can’t see them

9.Customise, don’t cut: offer the content and capability of the desktop, but customise, don’t overload

10.Prompt calls: provide buttons to start phone calls at potential conversion drop-off points

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