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UK internet users are enthusiastic about their mobile devices—smartphones and tablets are widely used. However, despite mcommerce sales increasing impressively over the past few years, the vast majority of internet users resist buying on their smartphones or tablets according to data from ICM Research gleaned in September 2013.
Fully 72% of internet users surveyed in Great Britain bought no entertainment products on mobile devices in the months prior to polling, rising to 77% for clothing, 79% for electricals, 85% for furniture and 87% for food. Clearly, while mcommerce is making an impact, there is significant potential yet to be realized. The research goes on to suggest that more people, particularly younger shoppers ages 18 to 24, will be making mobile purchases in the run-up to Christmas.
Despite reservations about mobile shopping, UK consumers already have some of the highest rates of purchasing by mobile when compared to other leading countries. In addition, retailers remain reluctant to offer mobile payments systems in-store. Of the countries surveyed by Ipsos for RetailMeNot.com in August 2013, UK internet users showed the highest levels of mcommerce of the developed nations listed, with 10% of internet users buying using a mobile device. However a greater number of internet users in India and China buy with a mobile device.
Smartphones may also be the primary way consumers in India and China access the internet, and so account for the very high proportion of internet users buying items via a mobile device. But as ownership of smart mobile devices like smartphones and tablets is increasing all the time, and the bulk of growth in ecommerce now comes from mcommerce sales, doubling between Q2 2012 and Q2 2013. It will not be long before mobile first translates into mobile commerce first in the UK.
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