Google issues mobile warning

27 September 2012

MOUNTAIN VIEW: Smartphone owners are "task-oriented", impatient and unforgiving of websites that do not provide a good mobile experience, a study from Google has suggested.

New research from the tech firm, which surveyed 1,088 adult smartphone users in the US, shows that two-thirds of consumers are more likely to buy products or services from a mobile-friendly site.

But many online publishers and ecommerce firms are falling short on mobile, with 96% of respondents saying they have previously encountered sites not designed for mobile users.

A clear majority (61%) said that, if they did not find what they were looking for on a mobile site "right away", they would "quickly" move onto an alternative site.

"The bottom line: Without a mobile-friendly site you'll be driving users to your competition, " Masha Fisch, a marketing manager at Google, said.

"While the research confirms what we already suspected -- that mobile users actively seek out and prefer to engage with mobile-friendly sites -- it's a sobering reminder of just how quickly and deeply users attitudes about companies can be shaped by mobile site experiences."

Elsewhere on the survey, the increasing importance of having a mobile-optimised site is highlighted by the fact that 74% of people said that once they've visited a mobile-friendly site they would be more likely to return to it in the future.

Around half of respondents said that, even if they like a business, they will use it less often if the website isn't mobile-friendly.

The impact can go beyond lost business and affect a company's reputation. Just under half (48%) of users felt that, if a site didn't work well on their smartphones, the company didn't care about their business.

A similar total (52%) stated that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company.

Data sourced from Google; additional content by Warc staff