UK Smartphone Users Search Retailer Stores Using Browsers More Than Apps

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UK Mobile retail access via smartphones saw huge growth in 2011:

The UK saw a huge 163% growth in access to retail stores via smartphones in 2011, access via a browser was the main point of entry while apps where not as commonly used to access retailer stores via a smartphone device:

Browsers more commonly used than applications to access online retailers using smartphones:

Perhaps proving that a certain line is being drawn between the size of the screen and the functionality of a phones browser, it appears than many smartphone users are choosing to browse retailer store via a more familiar browser rather than look for a retailers application when shopping, lets look deeper into the results from ComScores latest research to find out why:

EU5 region research data:

13.5 million users across the EU5 (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) accessed online retail stores in the three month average leading up to May 2011.

Smartphone users accessing online retailer stores has grown an average of 80% in the EU5 with the UK seeing a huge 163% increase in smartphone access to retailer stores.

Jeremy Copp, Europe vice president for mobile at comscore states:

“Over the past year, online retailers enjoyed strong growth in visitation from mobile devices in Europe, largely driven by the acceleration in smartphone ownership,”

“This trend represents both an opportunity and a threat for retailers. While mobile access offers retailers incremental occasions to engage with customers, it also provides customers the ability to easily compare prices at competing retailers while inside a particular retailer’s store. Retailers must get a firm handle on mobile shopping behaviour if they are to effectively navigate this changing environment.”

Auction and review sites also popular

Backing up a point I made in an earlier article this week, retailers do need to understand that savvy smartphone users are checking out reviews and prices in the store they are thinking of buying from, this is a massive sea change in behaviour and one that needs to be taken seriously to mitigate losses in-store through badly researched pricing structures or bad choice of stock.

Mobile Retail Activity Among Total Mobile Subscribers
Mobile Retail Activity Among Total Mobile Subscribers

In the period of three months up to May 2011 a total of 6.3% of all EU5 mobile users accessed auction sites via their mobile devices and 5.1% were seen to access online shopping guides.

I have a feeling that this figure could be higher if review sites are not taken into account as shopping guides.

Smartphone users drive access growth from mobile devices to auction and retailer sites.

With growth of Smartphone ownership being in the region of 50-60% for Germany and the UK, the growth in access to sites such as retailers coincided with the general growth in ownership and change in behaviour seen by retailers and researchers.

English speaking countries use apps more than others:

While all countries polled prefer to access general retailers via a traditional browser using their smartphone, auction sites faired differently; UK smartphone users were much more likely to use an application to access an auction site via their mobile device than users in Italy, France, Germany and Spain.

11.6% of UK smartphone owners accessed auction sites via an application compared to only 10% accessing via a browser.

This data shows that retailers need to first look at a mobile optimised website rather than spending money on an application, with the likelihood that applications will become more popular as interfaces become standardised in the way that e-commerce sites have been to some degree over the years.

“With mobile browsers still driving mobile retail activity in Europe, retailers hoping to capitalize on this trend should first look to develop a mobile-optimized website if they haven’t already,”

It would appear that their is potential for a good quality review application that can be accessed via smartphones.

Mobile Retail Access Method Among Smartphone Owners
Mobile Retail Access Method Among Smartphone Owners

“Apps, which often provide a more powerful and intuitive interface than browsers, will become increasingly important – especially as consumers begin to transact over their phones with greater regularity.”

So what are your experiences of accessing retailer sites using apps and browsers on your smartphone? Did you look to save money or simply do some research while shopping on your mobile device or in store?

Anthony Munns