LONDON: The faster internet speeds offered by 4G technology are encouraging greater numbers to shop via mobile devices and to spend more, often during their daily commute, new research has shown.

The 4GEE Mobile Living Index, a report from EE, the UK digital communications company, was based on its own network data covering 1.2m 4G users and an independent survey of 1,000 of such users by TNS. It found that 39% of 4GEE users planned to shop on a smartphone or tablet this Christmas, more than double the 15% who did so last year.

The busiest times for this activity were early morning (8.30am) and late afternoon (5.30pm) as the daily commute was utilised for retail pursuits.

EE suggested that retailers with quality mobile apps and websites optimised for mobile users were set to be big winners. Not only were more people planning to shop online but more than one third (35%) of male mobile shoppers are already spending more than £100 a month through this channel.

Further, 20% of men had spent more than £200 this way in the previous month, and the figures for women spending this amount had doubled to 15% in a six-month period.

Fashion, entertainment, electronics and books were the most popular purchases, with eBay and Amazon the most visited destinations.

"People are now buying their Christmas gifts on the move, without having to queue in shops," said Pippa Dunn, chief consumer marketing officer at EE. "4G is enabling people to shop, share and browse with a new level of flexibility and freedom," she added.

In addition to the growth in shopping, users were sharing and streaming more. The report said that 24% of respondents used social media at least ten times per day, while 36% streamed more video than they did on 3G.

The top five applications in terms of volume of 4GEE data were, in order, web browsers, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and video calls. Music streaming services were also more popular with 4G users, as Deezer and Spotify both appeared among top 20 4G applications, but did not appear in a similar list for 3G apps.

The age profile of the typical 4GEE user was also changing, the report noted, with almost one third being aged over 45, compared to one quarter at launch. The gender divide remained steady however, with 42% of customers being women.

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff