Smartphones becoming central to the shopping experience

Consumers are increasingly turning to smartphones in order to do their shopping and even pay for goods and services.

This is the conclusion of a study by PayPal, which revealed mobile shopping growth is four times higher than overall growth in online spending.

PayPal believes this trend is only set to continue, as almost one in three people in the UK expect to use smartphones more often for shopping over the coming year.

Young people in particular seem very keen to use their handset rather than a computer to make a purchase.

In fact, almost half of the 16 to 25-year-olds polled said they'd be doing this more often in the next 12 months.

This means mobile devices are becoming an increasingly central part of the modern day shopping experience.

While many of us will have used our smartphones to at least browse for potential new purchases, it seems people are getting more and more comfortable with making actual payments on them as well.

According to figures from PayPal, the estimated annual spend on mobile stood at £13.5 billion in 2016. However, it has nearly doubled since then to a staggering £27 billion.

As a result, PayPal believes the figure will only continue to rise, hitting about £43 billion by 2020. However, a number of factors could still be holding it back.

Potential obstacles

For all the apparent embracing of mobile shopping, the PayPal report suggests that the amount spent via smartphones and tablets could actually be much higher.

This is largely down to the retailers themselves, as fewer than one in five small businesses in the UK have a mobile-friendly website.

A poor user experience will be off-putting for anyone wanting to make a smooth and stress-free transaction. Not having a mobile-optimised site therefore means many prospective customers could be driven away.

Similarly, the study showed that many firms aren't adopting the latest mobile payment options. In fact, four in ten small businesses were found to have never reviewed how they take payments – so another opportunity could be being missed here, given the rising popularity of options such as digital wallets.

The end result is that many consumers might mistakenly assume mobile shopping as a whole doesn't really work that well, simply because a few retailers aren't using it correctly.

It therefore seems it's down to them to up their game, as the desire for mobile shopping certainly exists among smartphone users.

Nicola Longfield, director of small business at PayPal UK, commented: “Shoppers are increasingly frustrated by websites which require them to pinch the screen to zoom in and scroll endlessly.”

She added that with mobile web browsing overtaking desktop for the first time last year, it is “more important than ever that businesses adapt” and bridge the gap between what they offer and what people expect.

Written by Mazuma

Mazuma Mobile is the UK's most trusted mobile phone recycling service.

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