LONDON: Consumers in the UK are increasingly interested in both online and mobile commerce, but are still reticent to adopt these tools when buying grocery goods, a study has found.

IMRG, the interactive retail industry body, and eDigitalResearch, the survey firm, polled a nationally-representative sample of 5,994 people regarding their evolving habits.

Overall, 61% of participants plan to browse web content more frequently on their phone during the next 12 months, and 49% of this group envisage making a purchase using a smartphone in the same period.

Elsewhere, 35% of interviewees are likely to do more shopping on smartphones this Christmas, while 40% of the current mobile internet audience now log on at home, suggesting the role of this medium in consumers' lives is developing rapidly.

More broadly, 19% of the panel expect to do a greater amount of Christmas shopping online in 2011.

Exactly 33% anticipated at least half of their seasonal spending would be directed to this channel, with 25% predicting three-quarters of their outlay will be taken by the web.

"This year will be one of the first Christmas shopping periods where mobile shopping will be readily available to the majority of consumers, said Derek Eccleston, research director at eDigitalResearch.

"The rapid development in mobile technology and the quick uptake by retailers of mobile sites and retail apps means that more and more brands have the opportunity to connect with potential customers, encourage purchases and increase revenues."

Better prices were mentioned by 46% of respondents as the main reason to shop online, up by 5% compared with similar analysis last year.

Another 45% of contributors were "somewhat reliant" on the internet to help stretch their Christmas budgets, and a further 17% were "very reliant" on the web to achieve the same goal.

However, grocery habits remain rather more traditional at present, with 50% of shoppers "strongly preferring" to buy these items in stores, measured against 10% affording the net this status.

When making purchases, 48% of interviewees revealed they can be swayed by the deals and promotions offered by retailers.

Data sourced from eDigitalResearch; additional content by Warc staff