Online spending will reach £182.8bn in Europe this year, up from £156.7bn in 2015, with UK sales responsible for £60bn of the £182.8bn. In Britain, mobile commerce will account for 36 per cent of online retail spending, with British consumers spending £21.4bn on mobile devices, compared to £15bn in 2015.
The figures come from a study commissioned by digital offers firm RetailMeNot, and carried out by Professor J A N Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research in England. The study covers eight European markets - France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK – plus the US and Canada. Sources for the data include government statistical sources and analysts; telephone interviews with 100 major retailers from all types of business; plus a series of interviews carried out in partnership with an international research company into major trends into consumer behaviour in six of the countries covered in the report.
By the end of 2016, mobile devices will be responsible for 25 per cent of retail sales in Europe, compared to 20 per cent in 2015. This is a slower rate of increase than was seen between 2013 and 2014 and between 2014 and 2015, but reflects the fact that irrespective of browsing behaviour, most online customers at present prefer to place the order or make a payment on a PC rather than a phone or tablet.
In fact, the research shows that a much larger share of pre-transaction browsing, comparing prices, and checking stock and delivery options is being done using mobiles. Up to 60 per cent or 70 per cent of searches and web browsing is done via mobile devices. This highlights that mobile is still mainly a discovery tool which shoppers use to collect information, with the final transaction often happening in another channel, offline or online.
RetailMeNot’s research shows that over one third (34.8 per cent) of the UK population have now made a purchase on a mobile device, compared to 20.3 per cent across Europe. It’s the highest share of all markets covered in the survey, followed by Sweden (33.9 per cent), the U.S (31.9 per cent) and Germany (26.8 per cent).
Total online spend is also being largely driven by an increase in spending on mobile devices. This year, British mobile shoppers are expected to spend £907.61 on smartphones and tablets, up from £618.86 in 2015. This is almost double the European average of £554.86 and 16 per cent more than the average annual spend in the US (£781.25).
In addition, British consumers will be spending more this year on individual purchases. Brits’ average online shopping basket is predicted to increase from £55.36 to £60.19, the highest expenditure per transaction seen across Europe. On mobile devices, Brits will spend an average of £47.35 per transaction, compared to £41.62 in Europe and £55.21 in the US.
As shoppers become more confident making purchases on mobile devices, consumers are shopping more frequently. This year, Brits will make 19 purchases on mobile devices, up from just eight in 2014, putting the UK ahead of both Europe and the US, where shoppers are predicted to make 14 purchases on mobile.
“What this research shows us is that consumers want the most convenient shopping experience possible,” said RetailMeNot senior vice president, international, Giulio Montemagno. “Shoppers are growing increasingly confident in shopping online. They are no longer intimidated by making purchases via their mobile phone or tablet, so now in order for retailers to capitalise on this, it is important for them to continue making the shopper experience as trustworthy and as seamless as possible in order to benefit. When it comes to the consumer, it’s all about convenience, and this reinstates the need to prioritise the idea of the omnichannel experience – making it as simple as possible for consumers to access the same deals and experience both on and offline”.