Nearly half of UK smartphone owners have used their device for store-related shopping, influencing an estimated 6% of in-store retail sales.
According to Deloitte Digital, this is equivalent to £15.2bn of retail sales this year, almost double the value of direct purchases made through mobiles which are estimated to contribute to £8bn in sales this year.
Looking ahead, the digital services practice forecasted that by 2016, more than 80% of consumers will own a smartphone with between 15-18% of in-store sales influenced by the devices – equivalent to £35-43bn.
The research also revealed that smartphone usage increases the conversion rate for retailers with 74% of shoppers that visited a mobile site or app during their most recent shopping trip making a purchase, compared with 66% that didn’t.
Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said: “The increasing influence of mobile is being driven by higher levels of smartphone ownership, increased adoption by shoppers and improved functionality. It is rising to the top of many retailers’ agendas. Its influence is only going to increase so it is very important for retailers to get this right.
“At the same time however, mobile must be considered in conjunction with other shopping channels. Consumers are researching products using the smartphone, browsing items in-store and then often completing the transaction at home on a laptop or tablet. Shoppers expect to be able to interact seamlessly with a retailer across all of these channels. Investment and related targets are required to ensure each channel supports each other and delivers a strong omni-channel experience.”
Similarly, Forrester recently predicted that mobile commerce revenues in Europe wll grow from €1.7bn in 2011 to €19.2bn in 2017.
Across the pond, Deloitte’s retail practice in the US predicted similar smartphone shopping figures. Whilst mobile-influenced sales only account for 5%, the significantly larger market means that mobile is estimated to influence $159bn of in-store sales this year.
Geddes added: “The implications of the influence of mobile are vast and many retailers will be forced to rethink their approach. In a low growth industry, mobile represents an opportunity for retailers to create a distinctive experience for their customers and take market share.”
Mark Haviland, MD at Rakuten LinkShare UK, said of Deloitte's research: "The fact that nearly half of all smartphone users use their device to research products when shopping shows that today’s shopper is hungry for information; consumers are using 3G and in-store wi-fi and are habitually comparing prices and products using their smartphones. Shoppers are taking time to mull over purchases, so a mobile presence is vital for retailers to be considered at this ‘research’ stage of the purchasing journey."