The widespread adoption of smartphones in the UK has had a dramatic impact on the retail sector. Connected consumers with smartphones and tablets are now in the majority, and retailers without a comprehensive mobile commerce strategy risk becoming irrelevant.
That’s according to Dan Wagner, founder and chief executive of Powa Technologies, who cites recent figures from the Office for National Statistics. The ONS report Internet Access — Households and Individuals 2015 shows that almost three-quarters of adults (74%) now use the internet “on the go” using a mobile phone, portable computer or other handheld device, including 96% of those aged 16 to 24.
The ONS also found that 76% of UK adults now shop online, up from 53% in 2008. Again, younger adults are out in front, with 90% of those aged 16 to 24 purchasing over the internet in 2015 — twice the proportion of adults aged 65 and over (42%) who have shopped online this year. However, the statistics agency pointed to significant growth in the rate of online purchasing by those aged 65 and over, rising from 16% in 2008.
The inescapable fact is that more and more UK consumers of all ages are using smartphones and shopping online, and expecting a seamless experience whatever device they choose to use.
Wagner commented: “The rapid increase in personal internet access has transformed many aspects of our lives, but perhaps none more so than how we browse and purchase goods and services. The vast majority of the population now shops online, with over 12% of all retail sales coming through eCommerce in June.
“The advent of the smartphone and access to reliable mobile internet has changed the landscape completely in the last five years. In today’s always-on, mobile-driven culture, it seems hard to believe that only 24% of people accessed the internet via mobile in 2010.”
Wagner went on to note that the “writing has been on the wall” for years, but many brands and retailers have still not adjusted their strategies to match the changes in consumer demand.
“People have become accustomed to the ability to browse and buy on a whim, and time is running out quickly for those brands without a comprehensive mobile strategy,” he concluded.