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UK Key Trends for 2014: Ecommerce Pushes the Limits with Mobile

Retailers must adapt to new shopping behaviors

As smartphones and tablets proliferate across the UK, they’ve prompted a massive increase in mobile shopping activities, according to a new eMarketer report, “UK Key Digital Trends for 2014: Mobile Usage, Big Data and Ad-Buying Options Influencing Digital Ecosystem.”

For example, mobile’s share of UK retail website visits rose from 24.0% to 45.0% between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013, according to the “Quarterly Benchmarking Index” from the Interactive Media in Retail Group and Capgemini.

Importantly, mobile devices meet various needs for shoppers and buyers—and for the advertisers trying to reach them. Though UK smartphone owners used smartphones and tablets somewhat less than laptops and desktops for product research and purchase, nearly half of those polled by the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) in 2013 said they had used a smartphone or tablet for research; significant percentages had also made a purchase using those devices. Moreover, smartphones and tablets ranked very close to laptops and desktops as the devices through which respondents had first seen an ad or marketing message related to the item they had bought.

Many UK retailers are responding well to multidevice shoppers. For example, IAB UK reported that 74% of all retailers it polled in June 2013 had a mobile-optimized site, and almost half had optimized their search functions for mobile; furthermore, the same number provided a GPS store locator. On the other hand, less significant percentages offered in-store Wi-Fi or contactless payment facilities or had optimized their sites with tablet users in mind.

UK retailers are adapting to a variety of “digital + physical” shopping behaviors. However, while they’re trying hard to be flexible and innovative, it’s almost impossible to keep up with the complexity of shopper behavior and preferences. For example, when Deloitte asked UK web users about their purchase and delivery preferences for groceries—for both a main grocery shop and a quick visit to buy just a few items—most wanted their shopping delivered to their homes, though there were several other permutations of ordering, purchase and delivery on respondents’ radars.


The full report, “UK Key Digital Trends for 2014: Mobile Usage, Big Data and Ad-Buying Options Influencing Digital Ecosystem,” also answers these key questions:

  • How is the proliferation of media devices and platforms changing UK consumer behavior?
  • How are mobile phones and tablets changing shopping and buying habits in the UK?
  • How is the notion of big data affecting UK marketers and consumers?
  • How are developments in real-time ad buying and native advertising changing the game for marketers and consumers?

This report is available to eMarketer corporate subscription clients only. eMarketer clients, log in and view the report now.


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