Findings by Verdict, which carried out the research on behalf of the internet auction site, predicts that the m- commerce sector could deliver as much as £4.5bn to the economy by 2016, and a further £13bn by 2022, as consumers become more comfortable with their smartphones and increasingly use them to make purchases.
However, the same research suggests that the mobile commerce industry is being held back by poor mobile broadband services, with more than a third of consumers apparently failing to complete a purchase due to poor broadband coverage. Verdict suggests that UK retailers are mssing out on £1.3bn worth of transactions because of this.
The research, based on a poll of 1500 consumers, showed that mobile spending is at least 20% lower than the national average in certain areas in the UK such as the Scottish highlands and rural Wales. More than 23% of those polled said they’d like to see improved coverage in less urbanised areas of the UK.
eBay is now calling on telecommunications regulator Ofcom, which is currently deciding how to auction the next generation of faster, more reliable 4G mobile licences, to support the m-commerce sector.
Angus McCarey, UK retail director for eBay UK, said, “Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity not just for retailers, but for the economy as a whole.”
McCarey added that high quality and reliable mobile broadband is needed around the UK to give consumers more choice over when and how they shop.
Ofcom recently found that around 3.6 million UK households (17% of the total number of UK households) use their mobiles for broadband access.