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… while study suggests 4G will accelerate mobile shopping

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Just over one third (34%) of smartphone owners will be ‘very likely’ or ‘likely’ to purchase more items from their mobile device thanks to 4G technology and faster internet connections, according to the latest eCustomerServiceIndex (eCSI) survey of 2,000 consumers from eDigitalResearch and IMRG .

eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that 39% of smartphone owners have already used their mobile device to make a purchase, a number which is only likely to increase with the introduction of more 4G networks and locations later in the year.

Whilst adoption of 4G technology currently remains relatively low (according to the study, just 14% of smartphone devices have 4G capabilities although not all are currently active), 4G users on average are much more engaged with mobile technology than their 3G smartphone owner counterparts.

Over three quarters (77%) of 4G users have accessed the internet from their 4G enabled device whilst out shopping, compared to just over half (53%) of 3G smartphone owners who have done the same. Meanwhile, 62% of 4G users have used a barcode scanner to see if they could get a product cheaper elsewhere, compared to just 1 in 5 (20%) 3G smartphone owners.

With the imminent release of more 4G services across the UK, the results signal to retailers and brands the importance of strengthening their mobile strategy, from a well-rounded mobile optimised site, to an interactive store experience.

Derek Eccleston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch explains: “The introduction of 4G technology looks set to have a considerable impact on retail markets. With faster internet speeds and a better all-round browsing experience, more and more shoppers are likely to turn to their 4G enabled device to help them through their multichannel purchase journey; whether that’s to read customer reviews, check product descriptions or compare prices. Whilst the thought of this might scare some, brands need to embrace this next step of the mobile revolution and ensure that their entire end-to-end customer journey across all channels is set for more mobile”.

Of those that have 4G technology available to them, and have used it, 43% reported a substantial difference to their internet browsing experience claiming that it was ‘considerably faster’, whilst another 39% said they found it ‘faster’.

Andy Mulcahy, Head of Communications at IMRG adds: “Retailers are very aware that they need to accommodate the mobile customer in-store somehow and there are a range of possible options available to do so, but the general approach has been fairly cautious to date. Many have opted simply to provide wifi for the time-being until how their customers really want to use mobile in the stores becomes clearer. These survey results suggest that when 4G becomes more widespread, it will accelerate the need for mobile engagement in-store as the speed at which customers are able to interact with brands through technology is a key factor in building trust in the channel.”

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