Rocketing smartphone usage in Italy has laid the foundation for a mobile revolution in retail and other consumer services. That’s one implication of recent data from comScore MobiLens, detailing mobile activity in the country between September and November 2013.
According to researchers, nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of Italy’s mobile phone owners had a smartphone late last year—a gain of 23.5% compared with the same period in 2012.
Shopping was a major growth area among smartphone owners. The number of people using retail apps and mobile sites reportedly jumped by 74.8% year over year—the largest gain for any category. Health registered growth of 66.6%.
Interest in electronic payments and money transfer facilities had also surged during the year, with user numbers up an estimated 65.2%.
Admittedly, these were advances on a relatively small user base. Even after increases, less than one-quarter (23.8%) of Italy’s smartphone owners accessed mobile retail sites or apps, while 22.6% visited shopping and price guides on mobile platforms. A further 22.1% used group shopping or daily deal sites, and 18.3% visited auction or classified sites.
The proportion carrying out epayments or money transfers via smartphone was 21.7%, and a similar number (21.4%) accessed their bank accounts through such a device.
Rising smartphone penetration should ensure that the momentum continues for both retail and financial services on mobile. eMarketer estimates that Italy will be the fourth-largest smartphone market in Western Europe this year, with 25.8 million people owning at least one advanced handset. The country is also expected to be one of the fastest-growing markets, posting a compound annual growth rate of 18.5% between 2012 and 2017.