23 million people in the UK already using their mobile phones to make purchases

 In mobile

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau finds that smartphone users are 63% more likely to engage with m-commerce

New research from the Internet Advertising Bureau – the trade association for online and mobile advertising – reveals that mobile commerce has already become widely adopted in the UK, with 51% of mobile owners (23 million people) using their device to make payments, redeem coupons or research products and services.

The study shows once again the urgent need for retailers to catch up with the mobile consumer and enhance the user experience to ensure they don’t miss out on sales.

The study – based on a nationally representative sample of over 1000 mobile owners and carried out by work research – was designed to investigate genuine consumer engagement with m-commerce in the UK. It found that 43% of respondents had used mobile to conduct research for a purchase, whilst 40% have used their mobile phone to check shop details such as contact information, location and opening hours.

Usability was found to be key, with those who find research easy 16% more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t.

The study shows just how significant the mobile phone now is within the path to purchase, as well as how increasingly sophisticated mobile consumer behaviour has become, showing that:

  • Consumers are buying already. 37% of people have used their mobile to purchase a service/product direct to their phone bill. Within this, 32% have paid for downloaded content, 21% have used a shortcode to pay for a product/service, and 13% entered a phone number to pay for a product/service.
  • Average spend is high. 27% of mobile owners have used mobile to purchase via cards, bank details or PayPal. This includes buying an app through an app store (21%), via mobile website (19%) and via an app itself (15%). Consumers purchasing via these means are spending an average of £12.20 each time.
  • Mobile is convenient. 42% of consumers who made a purchase on mobile did so because they felt it was the easiest option.  The mobile phone has also become a essential part of personal admin, with a fifth of mobile users (21%) already using coupons and vouchers on their mobile, with 23% having used their mobile phone as a ticket for events or travel.
  • Smartphones are driving growth.Smartphone users were found to be 63% more likely to engage in m-commerce than all users. Of those mobile users who had not engaged with mobile commerce, 35% were simply unable to because their current handset did not allow it.
  • The mobile consumer is spontaneous. Of those consumers who had made a purchase via their mobile device, around a third (31%) did so due to a spontaneous or impulsive decision. A quarter of people (25%) liked the experimentation factor of purchasing via their mobile phone.

Alex Kozloff, mobile manager at the Internet Advertising Bureau said: “Whilst m-commerce is on the radar for many retailers, our research highlights the need for more urgency in terms of developing a mobile presence and ensuring the user experience is as smooth and secure as possible.

Almost half of mobile users are making purchases, and of those who don’t, half again are certain they will in the future, so investment in a solid mobile retail presence is essential. The IAB is committed to helping these brands adapt, providing a steady stream of research and guidelines to facilitate a better understanding of the mobile consumer.”

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Based in London, Practical Futurist and former Global Managing Partner at IBM, Andrew Grill is a popular and sought-after presenter and commentator on issues around digital disruption, workplace of the future and new technologies such as blockchain. Andrew is a multiple TEDx and International Keynote Speaker.