In 2019, and for the first time ever, consumers will be as likely to use their smartphones to shop as they would using a laptop or desktop, according to new research by uSwitch.com, the price comparison and switching service.
Shoppers plan to spend £25 billion using their smartphones this year, a £10 billion rise on 2018. More than 30 million Brits (58%) will use smart devices to shop this year – an increase of 12 million, or 66%, compared to 2018.
The popularity of smartphone and tablet shopping is being driven by convenience, which two thirds (66%) of shoppers say is the main draw of using a smart device. The ability to shop at any time (64%), compare prices (40%) and the superior choice available (39%) are other strong influencers, while more than a third (36%) believe online shopping represents better value.
Clothes are by far the most popular product bought online (69%), ahead of books (51%), groceries (47%) and theatre or cinema tickets (43%). The most popular websites used for online shopping, however, are not exclusively clothes retailers – 89% of consumers use Amazon and 63% use eBay.
The convenience and the ‘always on’ nature of smartphone shopping means that no matter where people are, they can spend on their phones. The living room is the preferred location for most (78%), but one in seven Brits (14%) sneakily shop at work and nearly a tenth (8%) do so on their daily commute.
A notable portion (6%) even admit to shopping on their phone while using the bathroom – with those aged under 35 more than twice as likely to do so (14%). In fact, the bathroom is a more popular place to online shop for younger people than the kitchen (13%).
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch, says: “For so many of us now, our smartphone is an extension of our hand and we have it with us at all times, meaning that we can shop whenever and wherever we like. Our handsets allow us to window shop all the time, and if we see something we like, it is right there at our fingertips. With smartphone and tablet shopping now a £25 billion industry, it’s hardly surprising that major retailers have long adopted a mobile-first approach to their websites and have even introduced their own apps to make the user experience as easy as possible. Cleaner user journeys and the ease of one-click purchasing will only add to the number of people shopping on their phones and tablets. Providing your phone has a decent connection to either a good broadband supply or 3G or 4G, you can shop any time and any place – and this year more Brits than ever look set to take advantage of that.”