Mobile commerce: Retailers' readiness lags consumer demand

Over 50 per cent of UK mobile phone users have bought something via their phones, while only 20 per cent of the UK's most popular retailer websites have been optimised for mobile transactions.

This data, compiled by the UK Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), also indicated that, while average transaction value across all 1,000 respondents was just under £4, nearly a third of purchases were valued at over £12. The majority of these higher value items were bought by the user entering their bank details or using a service such as PayPal.

However, the user experience of m-commerce was also a factor in uptake, according to the IAB. The survey found that 16 per cent of people were more likely to complete a purchase if the user experience on mobile was easy.

"One of the key lessons of the study was that 42 per cent of people said using their mobile was the easiest way of researching a purchase and they weren't just doing it when they didn't have their laptop," said IAB's mobile manager, Alex Kozloff.

Having the ability to use the handset to make impulse purchases was also of strong interest. Of those consumers who had made a purchase via their mobile device, around a third did so due to a spontaneous or impulsive decision. A quarter of people liked the experimentation factor of purchasing via their mobile phone.

"Whilst m-commerce is on the radar for many retailers, our research highlights the need for more urgency in terms of developing a mobile presence and ensuring the user experience is as smooth and secure as possible," said Kozloff.

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