M-commerce sales set to surge in UK

10 June 2010

LONDON: The value of goods bought by UK shoppers using mobile devices will more than double over the next three years.

A study by Ovum and Verdict Research found that while 28% of the adult population in the country owned a web-enabled handset in 2009, only 2.1% had bought goods and services via this route.

This gave the m-commerce market a value of just £122.9m ($178m; €149m) in 2009, compared with the total online revenues of £21.2bn recorded in the same period.

More positively, 11.5% of consumers in the UK had used their phones to discover more information about brands before making purchases, with 3.8% doing so while in stores.

"For now, the true role of mobile is to drive growth by enhancing the overall shopping experience," the Verdict/Ovum study said.

"However, with internet-savvy consumers now accustomed to the multichannel environment, they are beginning to embrace m-commerce."

By 2013, sales made through mobile phones should reach £275m, driven by a 119% uptick in the number of mobile shoppers.

The rise of devices such as Apple's iPhone and handsets powered by Google's Android operating system will also offer more aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly interfaces.

While mobile may not be a "significant channel" for most retailers by 2013, it is likely to become a marketing allowing firms to engage customers, and thus to boost demand in bricks and mortar outlets.

"Retailers will need to decide if they're going to be pioneers in the market and meet consumer expectations, or wait and risk being behind the curve," said Christine Bardwell, senior retail technology analyst at Ovum.

"The opportunities are there for the most proficient multichannel retailers to claim a share of the growing cross-channel expenditure." 

Data sourced from Datamonitor; additional content by Warc staff