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Mobile Retailing 2015
Mobile retailing is the fastest-growing retail sector, forecast to be responsible - on current trends - for 30.1% of online sales in Europe by 2016 and 36.5% in the U.S. 'Mobile retailing' is defined here as retail shopping where merchandise is purchased using smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices.
The research reported here has been carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, Nottingham, on behalf of RetailMeNot.com, the world's leading marketplace for digital offers, with its associate companies VoucherCodes.co.uk, RetailMeNot.ca, Deals.com, Actiepagina.nl, Bons-de-Reduction.com, Ma-Reduc.com, Poulpeo.com, and Deals2Buy.com.
Rapid Growth in Mobile retailing
Mobile devices allow customers at any time of day or night to browse retail offers, make selections, pay for goods and arrange home deliver or click and collect.
In four European countries (France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK) online retail sales are forecast to grow from €133.34bn in 2014 to €184.73 bn by 2016. Most of this growth will be made by consumers using mobiles, for whilst transactions on PCs/laptops will rises by 9.9% in Europe, the average sales by mobile devices will grow by 187.7% in 2014-2016. The countries with the higher proportion of mobile sales are expected to be: Germany (27.7%), the U.S. (26.8%) and the UK (26.6%).
Mobile and PC/laptop shares on online sales for 2015 are given in Tables 1 and 2 expressed in billions of pounds sterling, euros and U.S. dollars.
Table 1: Sales by PC and by Mobile in Sterling, Euros and U.S. Dollars 2015
Table 2: Share of Sales by PC and by Mobile in 2015
Customer Use of Mobile Retailing
In Europe the predominant uses of mobile retailing by consumers were: comparing prices (76.9% of respondents), reading product reviews (75.9%), checking retailers' sites (73.0%), and researching products, offers and availability. Only 12.8% of users paid by mobile in 2015, although this proportion is likely to grow quickly. Other shopping uses for consumers' mobiles include finding store location (35.3%) and obtaining coupons, vouchers or offers. Merchandise bought included digital downloads and subscriptions (30.6%), apparel and accessories (27.8%), books, DVDs and entertainment (22.8%), and pharmacy and health and beauty (12.8%).
Mobile Retailing Within Stores
Mobile devices can also be used within stores to check items and to purchase goods and we expect this sector to grow quickly over the next two years. The most likely categories include: scanning barcodes to provide additional product information, loyalty programmes stored on smartphones, mobile-based secure payment methods (including queue busting 'scan and go' systems), checking availability and reserving items, and vouchers sent to mobiles.
There has been plenty of publicity about Beacons located in shop models (that can give extra product information to smartphone users with a relevant app): scannable QR codes are used regularly. Other possibilities for mobiles include product location or store guides, merchandise visualisation via tablets or smartphones, photographs of merchandise to be shared with friends using an app, and promotions and discount codes or vouchers.
Because mobile is seen as the main online game at present, retailers are spending large amounts on revamping their websites and making them easier to use. But only 30% have an app and only 28% have mobile-friendly websites. Only one retailer in seven engages in proximity marketing, price comparisons, some degree of personalisation, and checking availability by mobile. More than 40% of retailers sent offers to mobiles and more than one-half could use their mobiles to make alternative delivery arrangements. Overall the rate of retail response has been slow and heavy investment in more responsive websites, in stock, order and inventory systems, and secure payment are required to meet the demands of the consumer.