Use of smartphones for payments spikes

Smartphone conversion rates are increasing year-on-year in the UK, as consumers gain confidence paying with their phone after an initially slow pick-up rate.

Research by Marin Software shows that smartphones have experienced the largest increase in conversions, in comparison to tablets and desktops, with a 6% increase for Q4 in 2014. Tablets showed a 2.9% increase, while desktops dropped by 8.8%.

A growth in clicks and conversion rates for smartphones suggests that consumers are now more comfortable using mobile devices to complete purchases on the go, it was suggested in the research.

Jon Myers, vice president and marketing director for Marin Software EMEA told Marketing Week that historically we have seen a wide smartphone adoption in the UK, but the conversion rate has been low. The findings may highlight a change in this pattern in the future.

“People are beginning to trust mobile more, and I also believe that the experience has gotten better. It’s now quicker and easier to use smartphones than ever before,” says Myers.

Research from Zapp, a UK mobile payment brand, highlighted that 28% of consumers used their phone to make a payment in 2014, and 59% say they would use their phones to pay if a simple system existed that didn’t require extra set up. This is a marked increase from figures in the previous year.

Overall mobile conversions, with tablets and smartphones combined, are climbing year-on-year with an increase of 8.9% since Q4 in 2013, in contrast to an 8.3% drop in desktop conversions.

The findings see the UK catch-up to its US and Eurozone counterparts where smartphone ads have been more successful at converting sales in the past.

Tablets lead the way

Marin’s data has found that tablet devices are the most popular with UK consumers browsing products, which has led to a high mobile uptake in the amount of ad impressions, clicks and conversions.

Tablets and desktops still remain the leaders with a 25% and 75% conversion rate respectively.

Myers told Marketing Week that smartphones may reach the conversion uptake of tablets in the future, but for now tablets are leading the way in the UK.

The combination of smartphone’s and tablets now account for 44.8% of ad impressions, 50% of clicks and 46% of spend in the UK, according to the report.



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  1. Smartphones were always going to make a major impact on the UK’s retail scene and it will be interesting to watch how rapidly the rate of adoption accelerates as ‘tap and pay’ becomes the buzz phrase of 2015.

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