LONDON: The extent to which mobile commerce has taken off in the UK is reinforced by new data that reveals smartphone users make up nearly 81% of all UK online shoppers.

Microsoft's search engine Bing released details about user activity across its network in the UK last year and it showed that the number of queries asked on smartphones grew 20% year-on-year, The Drum reported.

Younger consumers appeared to be driving the trend because they accounted for more than half of the questions coming from smartphones, while older consumers aged over 50 took the lead for searches on tablets (40%). Meanwhile, women accounted for 60% of searches on smartphones and tablets.

In terms of what mobile consumers were looking for, the bulk of searches (54%) related to retail, closely followed by travel (48%) and finance (36%).

Bing also disclosed that more than a third of its search queries now come from iOS devices, accounting for 66% of mobile searches and driving 77% of mobile purchases.

The company released its UK user activity findings to coincide with the launch a new platform designed to give marketers what it claimed would be "greater control" over their online retail campaigns.

Called Bing Shopping, the platform provides real-time insights into campaign performance, including the means of reviewing data on an ongoing basis with increased accessibility to monitor and manage the impact of campaigns. It also allows advertisers to transfer from other platforms, such as Google Shopping.

"At Bing, we strive to provide useful, simple and effective tools. With Bing Shopping, we've done just that and are very excited to offer our customers this new product," said Ravleen Beeston, UK head of sales at Bing Ads.

"With an accessible user interface and important analytical elements, Bing Shopping offers our customers the ability to execute a truly successful campaign," she added.

Data sourced from The Drum, Net Imperative; additional content by Warc staff