Corporate Eye

2 out of 3 U.K. Smarphone Users are Mobile Shoppers

ebay mobile app iphoneThink your customers aren’t using mobile devices to shop? Think again.

New research from market research firm Arbitron Mobile found that 66.8% of U.K. smartphone owners used mobile commerce apps in March 2013. That number is higher than any other country included in the study (United States =55.9%, Germany = 57.6%, and France = 52.5%).

The report also shows that U.K. smartphone owners spend the most time using mobile commerce apps and shopping with their mobile devices. You can see the specific data below:

  • United Kingdom: Minutes per month = 134.8, Sessions per month = 54.5
  • United States: Minutes per month = 91.0, Sessions per month = 30.8
  • Germany: Minutes per month = 74.3, Sessions per month = 32.1
  • France: Minutes per month = 56.1, Sessions per month = 23.9

The most popular mobile commerce app used by smartphone owners in the U.K. during the month of March 2013 was the eBay app. Nearly one out of two (43.8%) panelists used the eBay app during March for a total of 144.1 minutes and 52.1 sessions for the month.

In fact, more than twice as many U.K. smartphone owners used the eBay mobile commerce app than the next most popular mobile commerce app, Amazon Mobile. Just 16.0% of U.K. smartphone owners reported using the Amazon Mobile app during March 2013 with usage time reported as 29.1 minutes and 9.5 sessions during that month. The Groupon, Nectar, and Maximiles app were each cited by 10% or fewer U.K. smartphone owners.

Interestingly, the study found that U.K. mobile commerce app users actually use those apps less frequently during the December holiday season. The data below shows you the usage pattern between October 2012 and March 2013, and it will probably surprise you:

  • October 2012 = 61.6%
  • November 2012 = 60.4%
  • December 2012 = 59.6%
  • January 2013 = 59.8%
  • February 2013 = 58.9%
  • March 2013 = 66.8%

The data shows that mCommerce is growing steadily in the U.K., and companies with useful mobile commerce apps are reaping the rewards. Think about your brand and how you can create a mobile commerce app that meets your target audience’s needs just as eBay has done. Don’t create an app simply to check it off of your list of 2013 projects. Make sure it delivers the experience your target audience wants and you’ll be able to attract that growing audience of smartphone users who are comfortable shopping through their mobile devices. After all, this audience certainly isn’t going to shrink, so ignoring the opportunity mCommerce represents could be a strategic disaster.

Image: Dan Taylor

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.