The overall market value of smartphone shopping in the UK is forecast to surge over the course of the next four years.
A new report from Google, PayPal UK and OC&C Strategy Consultants titled The Mobile Mandate specifies that smartphone shopping will treble in value to account for two-thirds of all e-commerce in the UK by 2020.
This is the equivalent of around £43 billion of e-commerce purchases – and it was noted that the value of mobile transactions will be significantly higher than its current level of £13.5 billion.
Through a combination of transactions, research and price comparison, some 80 per cent – or an estimated £57 billion – of all online retail in the country will involve a smartphone.
An exclusive dataset of search and transaction data from Google and PayPal UK was compiled for the report, which was completed with additional analysis and research by OC&C.
However, despite the rapid and ongoing shift to mobile in the UK, the country's retailers were found to be lagging some way behind its US and Asian competitors in terms of mobile readiness.
Consumer research undertaken as part of the report indicated that speed and convenience are important factors for those who regularly shop online. Despite this, UK retailer sites are between ten and 25 per cent slower to load on average than their US counterparts. Google research suggests that improving slow load times by one second can improve conversion rates by more than a quarter (27 per cent).
Almost half of UK adults (48 per cent) would prefer to deal with customer support via mobile chat, but only 16 per cent of the top 100 UK retailers offer this service. This is compared to over twice as many (41 per cent) of the top 100 US retailers that do so.
Mobile commerce director at PayPal UK Rob Harper highlighted the importance of speed to consumers: “Retailers can reduce the time it takes to browse and select a purchase but if it takes too long to pay, they may lose that sale.”
Mr Harper pointed out that more exciting developments are on the horizon when it comes to mobile commerce.
“The next evolution of mobile shopping will reduce the consumer journey even further. Contextual commerce will enable consumers to buy things at the point of discovery – whether that's in an email, on a Pinterest page or in a messenger app – rather than needing to click through to an online shop. Mobile technology is determining the future of e-commerce, and retailers need to act now to prepare themselves accordingly.”