Consumers in the UK are expected to spend a record £25bn this year ordering goods on their smartphones and tablets, according to a new survey that reinforces the need for retailers to adopt a mobile-first strategy.

Based on a poll of around 2,000 UK adults in mid-December 2018, price comparison firm uSwitch said that would mean an extra £10bn will be spent this year via smart devices compared with 2018.

It also predicted that at least 30 million British consumers will use their phones to shop this year, representing a huge increase of 66%, or 12 million people, since last year.

And coming a week after the British Retail Consortium reported that total retail sales in December were the worst for a decade, uSwitch further revealed that more UK consumers now shop online using a smart device (58%) than in shopping centres (56%).

“For so many of us now, our smartphone is an extension of our hand and we have it with us at all times, meaning that we can shop whenever and wherever we like. Our handsets allow us to window shop all the time, and if we see something we like, it is right there at our fingertips,” said Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.

“With smartphone and tablet shopping now a £25bn industry, it’s hardly surprising that major retailers have long adopted a mobile-first approach to their websites and have even introduced their own apps to make the user experience as easy as possible,” he added.

Elsewhere, uSwitch revealed that two-thirds of consumers (66%) said convenience is the main reason they use their smart devices to shop, while a similar proportion (64%) said smart devices give them the ability to shop at any time.

Meanwhile, 40% said they used their phones to compare prices and another 36% said they believe online shopping offers better value.

Clothes are the most popular product bought online (69%), followed by books (51%), groceries (47%) and theatre or cinema tickets (43%), while Amazon (89%) and eBay (63%) are easily the most popular shopping sites, ahead of Argos (41%), Tesco (35%) and Marks and Spencer (25%).

Sourced from uSwitch, BBC; additional content by WARC staff