LONDON: More than half of the websites of leading brands across Europe have been optimised for mobile with the automotive category leading the way according to new research.

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK carried out a study in February across the top 100 advertisers in five EU countries – Italy, Spain, Germany, France and the UK – and found that 54% of sites were optimised for mobile.

In the UK, the figure was higher, at 64%, and the IAB UK noted that this had increased by six points in six months, as its previous study in August 2013 had shown 58% of leading UK brands to have optimised sites.

The study also broke out the automotive, technology, retail, finance, media and FMCG sectors for each country. Across the five nations surveyed, the average for mobile optimised sites in the automotive sector was 85%, but in the UK this rose to 100%.

In contrast, the UK was lagging behind in the FMCG sector, where just 22% of sites were optimised for mobile compared to 55% in Germany, 44% in France, 41% in Spain and 27% in Italy.

Alex Kozloff, IAB's Head of Mobile, welcomed the insight into how mobile was faring across Europe. "It's great to see that the UK has experienced a 10% increase in mobile optimisation since August last year and that sectors, such as automotive and retail, are now really making the most of mobile," he added.

The UK also registered the highest score in the survey with regards to responsive design. Almost one quarter (24%) of the top 100 advertisers, such as Sky, Sainsbury's, Disney and Chanel, had a responsive site, more than double the figure of six months ago when a mere 11% had such sites.

In the rest of Europe, Spain led the way with 15% of top brands having a responsive site, followed by France (13%), Italy (13%) and Germany (7%).

At the recent Advertising Week Europe event in London, Tim Elkington, the IAB's Director of Research and Strategy, stressed the need for brands to have a mobile-optimised site, as even if consumers were not actually buying via a mobile device many would be researching potential purchases on them.

Data sourced from IAB UK; additional content by Warc staff