Use of smartphones for online shopping in the UK has skyrocketed by 141% in 12 months, research by global reviews and customer insights technology company Feefo has found. By contrast, use of laptops and desktops for online shopping has dropped by 47% over the same period.
Exploring the habits of 2,000 UK adults, the research reveals 53% of UK shoppers are now most likely to use their mobile for online shopping, compared with only 22% in Feefo’s research last year. And whereas 59% of respondents mostly used laptops and desktops for online shopping 12 months ago, this year the figure has crashed to 31%.
In another indicator of the future, the research revealed a big increase in the percentage of consumers buying through social media. More than four in ten (42%) have bought through an advert on a social platform, compared with only 30% in 2018.
“Huge tectonic shifts are rapidly changing how UK consumers shop,” said Matt West CEO at Feefo. “Retailers need to react swiftly or risk being undermined faster than a home built over a sinkhole. Unless you understand exactly how your customers’ habits are changing, you’ll lose out to a competitor who does. You may simply disappear.”
The research reveals significant differences between sexes and age-groups in shopping. Shopping online with a smartphone is more popular among women (the favourite method of 64%) than men (41%).
The research also found that more than four in ten consumers (42%) prefer to shop by researching and buying products or services online when they are at home, up from 38% last year. And with this, retailer websites and marketplaces such as eBay or Facebook Marketplace are identified as the most frequent shopping sites.
“Any business of any size needs a mechanism to understand customers as quickly and intimately as possible,” added West. “It’s all about customer experience. Consumers’ habits are changing so rapidly that unless your business has a feedback mechanism, you stand little chance of spotting trends and staying ahead of the pack.”