We are a nation of high tech shoppers

We, the UK that is, are the most prolific online shoppers in the world, according to a new survey by Ofcom. That’s why it’s such a shame not all our retailers’ mobile strategies are up to scratch.


UK consumers spent an average £1,000 each online in 2011, a 14 per cent increase on the previous year and way ahead of the next nearest competitor, Australia where shoppers spent £842 on average.

The findings, revealed in Ofcom’s seventh International Communications Market Report today (13 December), should be music to retail marketers’ ears.

Brits are consuming more mobile data than any other nation for the first time. A fifth (19 per cent) of the population have tablet devices and one sixth (16 per cent) of all web traffic in the UK was on a mobile, tablet or other connected device, higher than any other country in Europe.

Smartphones, tablets and internet connected TVs are behind the increase in online spending and the UK has the highest penetration of smartphones – at 58 percent of the population.

More than a fifth (23 per cent) of UK smartphone users use their device to visit retail websites – the highest level out of the five largest European countries.

It’s shocking then that just over a third (37) of the top 100 advertisers have a mobile optimised website, according to the IAB.

Play.com has seen a 120 per cent increase in web traffic in the last 12 months and Christmas sales figures will be a testament to the enormous growth the mobile channel can expect in the next 12 months.

Asos has already predicted a “stonking” Christmas driven by the “structural changes” mobile and tablet devices are bringing to shopping, while eBay is expecting mobile traffic to double this year compared with last Christmas and is forecasting it to double again next year.

With figures like these it’s difficult to see how mobile optimisation is not every retailer marketer’s number one priority. But it’s important that mobile isn’t seen as a siloed channel that sits outside of the traditional retail environment.

Mobiles and tablets are personal devices and as such they are an extension of an individual rather than something remote like a desktop.

For a successful mobile strategy to work it doesn’t mean just making a website easy to view on a mobile device. That’s the very least it should achieve. A mobile strategy must appeal to the way a consumer is going to use it and the needs it can satisfy for a shopper on the move.

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