Nearly half of mobile purchases are between £21 to £100
Shoppers in the UK took to ecommerce early on. Since 2010, online buyer penetration has been above 80% in the country, according to eMarketer, the highest in the world and a mantle that the UK will maintain through 2016. So as smartphones and tablets further penetrate the market, it makes sense that UK consumers would begin transferring that ecommerce appetite onto their mobile devices.
According to a July study from comScore, the No. 2 smartphone shopping activity in the UK was buying goods or services—at 18% of the smartphone population—more than the percentage who had compared and researched products or found coupons or deals over the phone. And it is a huge jump in mobile buying compared to comScore’s findings in August 2011, when making purchases via the smartphone did not make the list of top 10 mcommerce activities.
Looking more closely at mobile shopping trends in the country, the UK-based Tesco.com and Argos.co.uk, which have highly successful ecommerce outfits, were also among the top five mobile retail sites visited in July. However, in terms of developing mobile apps that are compelling for users, the UK-based brands seemed to lag. Neither made the list of top five retail apps.
That field was dominated by iTunes, which has a natural lead given its tight integration on mobile and large inventory of smart device–friendly products, such as, song, app and video downloads. Ebay also stood out as a highly successful retail app, although it was inevitably far behind iTunes. The DIY online market topped Amazon—a more natural competitor than iTunes—as the second most popular retail app. Amazon still remained dominant on the mobile web, however, where it saw 5 million visitors, more than any other mobile retail site.
In terms of UK mobile shopper demographics, men were in the clear majority, with a 55% share, but this is unsurprising given that smartphone and tablet users skew male. Mobile shoppers were also likely to be middle-income, with over half of mobile shoppers making between £15,000 ($24,193) to £45,000 ($72,580).
The average amount spent by mobile phone buyers was similarly mid-tier. Nearly 50% of purchases made over the phone cost between £21 ($33) and £100 ($161).
It’s notable that there was one mobile shopping activity in which UK smartphone users seemed comparatively disinterested—among the EU-5, the UK had the lowest penetration of smartphone users scanning QR codes.
By the end of 2015, more than half the population in the UK will access the mobile internet, according to eMarketer. As tablet and smartphone adoption grows, retailers will need to pay close attention to who their mcommerce customers are and what they are buying, and adjust accordingly to a world that is rapidly going mobile.
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Check out today’s other articles, “US, UK and India Are Top Spots for SMBs on LinkedIn” and “Social Logins Can Simplify Online Shopping.”