Where Are Location-Based Services Headed in the UK? - eMarketer
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Where Are Location-Based Services Headed in the UK?

Consumers hide from location-based services due to privacy concerns

July 23, 2014 | Retail & Ecommerce

Many shoppers and buyers in the UK now utilize multiple devices, channels and touchpoints on their retail journeys. Many retailers and marketers have been slow to fully embrace a cross-channel vision, but some options are being offered, and when they are, consumers display a voracious appetite for them, according to a new eMarketer report, “UK Cross-Channel Commerce: Keeping Track of Complex Consumer Journeys.”

Location-Based Service (LBS) Revenues in Europe, 2013 & 2018 (millions of €)

The image of a shopper playing the long game—using a smartphone in-store but with no immediate plan to take any action—lends itself well to the opportunity for location-based services.

This area could see a great deal of activity in the next few years, from both a retailer and consumer perspective. In March 2014, Berg Insight estimated that location-based service revenues—derived primarily from advertising—would more than treble in Europe between 2013 and 2018, from €735 million ($980 million) to €2.30 billion ($3.07 billion).

However, many UK consumers are cautious of such services, with privacy issues at the heart of most of their concerns.

Smartphone Users in Australia, the UK and the US Who Are Not Comfortable with Retailers Tracking In-Store Movements via Smartphone and Wi-Fi, Dec 2013 (% of respondents in each group)

SDL’s “Data and Privacy Study 2014” offered a resounding illustration of this: Almost three-quarters (74%) of UK smartphone users surveyed were not comfortable with retailers tracking their in-store movements. Still, this sentiment was less pronounced in the UK than the two other countries covered—the US and Australia.

However, the potential that these kinds of services can offer consumers needs to be expressed clearly. Make location-based services useful, experts believe, and consumer adoption will likely follow. As Trenton Moss, CEO and founder of Webcredible, said: “All the things that shop assistants do when you’re in-store to help you can be done through smartphones. And it can be done a lot better, because if you’re an existing customer and the brand has data on you already, then you don’t need to explain yourself as you would to a store assistant. The app knows what you’re interested in, and it can give you recommendations accordingly.”

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “UK Cross-Channel Commerce: Keeping Track of Complex Consumer Journeys.”

This report answers these key questions:

  • How prevalent is cross-channel shopping and buying in the UK, and how important is it in the bigger retail picture?
  • What specific cross-channel behaviors are UK consumers displaying as part of their retail journey?
  • How are marketers and retailers adapting to these consumer behaviors?

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