Just like in 2013, an explosion in mobile commerce is among the most powerful influences on ecommerce in Western Europe. Levels of mobile retail activity are rising rapidly across Europe as more consumers use smartphones and tablets, according to a new eMarketer report, “Western Europe B2C Ecommerce Trends: Omnichannel Is the Watchword as Markets Gain Sophistication.”
According to comScore MobiLens, between January and March 2014, 24% of smartphone users in the EU-5 accessed retail websites, representing year-on-year growth of 42%. In Spain and Italy, where ecommerce development has been depressed by wider economic gloom for several years, annual growth in retail site visits was 50% and 73%, respectively.
comScore also calculated that the number of EU-5 residents buying products via a mobile device was 31.8 million between June and August 2013, a gain of 43% from the comparable period of 2012.
The pressure is clearly on retailers to adapt. A survey in October 2013 by Edgar, Dunn & Company (EDC) found that more than three-quarters of retailers in France, Germany, Spain and the UK already sold via the internet and through physical stores. But fewer than 40% had created a mobile app or website.
These results go some way to highlighting the time lag between new consumer behaviors and retailers’ efforts to provide for them. Shoppers can change their habits from one week to the next, while retailers may need months or years to respond. For example, EDC reported that 53% of the retailers it surveyed in France, Germany, Spain and the UK expected mobile channels to offer added opportunities for loyalty engagement, but only 49% said they planned to develop an integrated multichannel strategy.
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