Smartphones shape UK retail sales

20 September 2012
LONDON: Smartphones will influence in-store retail sales worth over £15bn across the UK in 2012, an annual total that will top £30bn by 2016, according to a new report.

Deloitte Digital, a unit of the advisory network, stated that roughly 6% of in-store sales are shaped at least in part by research conducted on these devices before or during shopping trips, equating to £15.2bn a year.

To put this into context, the company suggested that pure mobile commerce revenues, with actual purchases conducted via mobile devices, were only likely to reach £8bn in 2012.

Looking forward, it predicted that between 15% and 18% of purchases made in bricks and mortar outlets, falling in the £35bn to £43bn range in value terms, will be impacted by smartphones in 2016.

Rising uptake rates for smartphones should fuel this process. Deloitte estimated that over 80% of shoppers may possess such gadgets in 2016, up from the current amount, of approximately 51%.

"The increasing influence of mobile is being driven by higher levels of smartphone ownership, increased adoption by shoppers and improved functionality," said Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said.

By sector, mobile phones influence 10% of electronics sales today, a total due to hit 30% in 2016. This share stands at just 2.9% for convenience stores and 3.8%, for supermarkets at present, and could remain low.

However, although a 64% majority of smartphone users have paid a bill or money into the bank through this route, only 1% had completed an in-store transaction via the same medium.

An additional 74% of smartphone owners that logged on to a retailers' mobile website or app while in their physical branches made a purchase, versus 66% of store visitors that did not engage in this activity.

"Mobile must be considered in conjunction with other shopping channels. Consumers are researching products using the smartphone, browsing items in-store and then often completing the transaction at home on a laptop or tablet," said Geddes.

"Shoppers expect to be able to interact seamlessly with a retailer across all of these channels.  Investment and related targets are required to ensure each channel supports each other and delivers a strong omni-channel experience."

Previously, Deloitte stated that 5% of US in-store sales, worth $159bn, should be impacted by mobile phone use in 2012. In 2016, a minimum of 17% and maximum 21% of acquisitions, or $628bn and $782bn in turn, will experience a similar trend.

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff
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