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May 26, 2015

Retailers must harness mobile for annual £6.6 billion

Mobile could be a game-changer.


UK retailers could be missing out on £6.6 billion per year due to underinvestment in their mobile offerings, according to research.

The report from and the Centre for Retail Research suggests that the mobile share of online sales increased from 15 percent to 28 percent from 2013 to 2014.

In addition, 15 percent of consumers use their mobile as a primary shopping device and mobile shoppers generally make 47 percent more transactions and spend 55 percent more than online shoppers.

Consumers themselves expected mobile spending to grow, with 73 percent saying that they would spend more on mobile and 62 percent more via tablet this year. Only 20 percent said they would increase spending on PC.

In addition, 44 percent of shoppers said they would be more likely to visit mobile-oriented stores in 2015 while 36 percent said they would spend more.

Click and collect was a key driver, with 26 percent saying that they would spend 15 minutes more in a store that offers the service, spending £18 more per trip. 24 percent said that augmented reality would make them more likely to shop in a store, spending 17.5 more minutes and £15.90 more per visit.

A more personalised experience would encourage consumers to spend £9.40 more per trip, while pop-up notifications alerting consumers to relevant products could produce £9.80 per visit.

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Additionally, the study revealed that while 23 percent enjoy mobile shopping, 40 percent feel it could be improved and a third don’t like using their phone to shop. Slow-loading pages, freezing websites and too many products to sift through were cited as problems by 64 percent, 49 percent and 46 percent respectively. 43 percent cited security and 35 percent poor payment options.

These problems were reflected in low conversion rates; only 20 percent of shoppers used mobile to make a final purchase. Only 16 percent of retail apps were used ‘a lot’ by customers and 27 percent had been downloaded and never used.

The retailers themselves, meanwhile, were aware of the channel’s importance. 66 percent said investment would help to drive sales growth and 88 percent believed that they would get more visits in-store. Retailers expected to lose 22 percent of sales due to a poor mobile website and 26 percent due to a poor mobile application. However 17 percent have no mobile offering.

The study also showed that 59 percent of retailers believed they supported mobile users effectively and 31 percent said that they were in the early stages of doing so. One in ten felt they were not supporting mobile effectively.

The figure of £6,654,026,786 billion a year is based on UK adults over 16 spending £359.51 per annum extra in mobile oriented stores.

Claire Davenport, Managing Director at commented: "The growth of online and mobile spending has already had a hugely positive impact on the retail sector. However, there is still a great opportunity being missed – and it is worth billions for retailers.

"Customers have expressed their intention to spend more on mobile devices, so now is the time to revisit mobile strategy to capitalise on this. In light of the continuing fall in foot traffic across high street stores, it’s encouraging to see that there are mobile features that can help attract consumers back into shops to spend.

"A combination of more established features, like click and collect, and forward-thinking technologies like augmented reality are spiking consumer interest. Customers have indicated they want a personalised experience, so retailers should use data from online purchasing to drive strategy in-store."

Davenport continued: "A key outtake from our research is the importance of simplicity and a seamless experience. Of customers that use mobile as their primary shopping device, almost half (44%) said they did so because it was convenient.

"Problems like slow loading sites and poor payment options are preventing consumers from getting to the point of purchase. An astounding 40% feel mobile retail could be improved – retailers could potentially monetise this group if they improved their offering.

"In light of Google’s recent announcement that it is changing its algorithm to adapt to the growing number of people using mobile for search, it is even more crucial that retailers update their mobile strategy."

She concluded: "It’s promising to see that retailers are recognising the importance of enhancing their mobile strategies, whether online or in-store. However, there is still a disconnect between what consumers are experiencing and what retailers believe they are providing.’s report will help to highlight the areas that should be addressed so we can start to close this gap."

The survey of 1000 UK online retail customers was conducted by the Centre for Retail Research on behalf of from March to April 2015.

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