Mobile Shopping Hits the Mainstream in Europe [Infographic]

Sofia | Aug 03, 2020

9 out of 10 millennials in UK prefer shopping on their mobile device

It’s no secret that mobile is quickly transitioning from initially being our second-screen to first-screen. Mobile devices have shifted from mainly a source of verbal and text communication to being our go-to device for taking pictures, listening to music, content consumption and online shopping.

As many of us continue to rely on our smartphones as our primary device for all this and more, we wanted to dig deeper to find out more about how our mobile devices influence our shopping habits. Here’s what we found out:

The growth of mobile shopping

According to The ING International Survey – Mobile Banking 2016 report, the number of consumers in Europe using a mobile device to shop jumped from 58% to 66% year over year. To further prove the growth in mobile commerce, this past summer, eMarketer forecasted that “UK retail ecommerce sales will exceed £67 billion ($102 billion) in 2016, fueled by impressive growth in smartphone-based buying.” In a separate report released a week ago, analysts also pointed out that “e-commerce gains in Germany will be largely attributable to strong uptake of mobile commerce.”

Our survey findings confirm many of these projections, as we discovered that consumers rely heavily on their mobile devices when making online purchases.

We asked consumers across regions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) how often they choose to shop online vs. in-store, and 79% choose to shop online rather than in-store.

In the UK, the adoption rate of online shopping was even higher, at 83%. Of each of these groups, 9 in 10 millennials chose mobile shopping over in-store shopping.

When asked which device they use most when making online purchases, we saw high favorability among tablets and smartphones compared to PCs, as more than half (56%) of consumers in EMEA use their tablets to make online purchases. In the UK and Germany, 56% also prefer tablets and 47% prefer smartphones, respectively.

The mobile shopper

So what exactly are mobile shoppers buying? What are the factors that push them most to convert? And how do they use their mobile device while shopping in stores?

Here is what EMEA shoppers are buying via mobile devices, by top categories:

  • Clothes (35%)
  • Travel (29%)
  • Home Goods (28%)
  • Books (24%)
  • Event Tickets (18%)
  • Transportation (18%)
  • Groceries (9%)

Though consumers in Germany and UK have similar shopping preferences in comparison to those in EMEA, priorities differ, which you can note in the German and UK versions of our survey.

When asked if they would ever purchase something on their mobile device directly from an advertisement, nearly half (49%) of consumers in EMEA said they would if the product was relevant to them. In the UK and Germany, 36% and 35% of mobile shoppers, respectively, said they’d make the purchase.

For in-store shoppers across EMEA that rely on their mobile companion for some shopping assistance, we found that 36% primarily use their mobile devices to take reference pictures, followed by 34% who use their device to look up product reviews. In Germany, however, 33% of consumers primarily use their mobile devices to scan QR codes inside the store.

The in-app shopper

Though 40% of mobile shoppers were indifferent when asked if they had a preference with shopping in-app or in a mobile browser, we found that 37% of consumers across EMEA prefer to shop in-app, rather than through the mobile browser. This is further demonstrated by Apple’s decision in 2015 to give Shopping apps their own category in the App Store, which indicates that mobile users were already shopping more on their devices.

Another interesting note: Among shoppers in the UK, 1 in 5 prefer to shop in-app, a trend that could very well continue to grow, as, according to eMarketer, “59.3% of smartphone buyers in the UK made purchases via apps” in April 2016.

So why do some favor in-app over the mobile browser? As a self-proclaimed in-app shopper pro, there are a number of reasons why an in-app experience trumps a mobile web experience:

  • A rich customer experience allows retailers to engage with their customers via push notifications (discounts, sales, new products, relevant news, beacons) for mobile and/or in-store shopping, improving customer engagement, creating customized shopping experiences, and more.
  • Native functions/features allow for a much smoother and integrated online experience and also allow consumers to easily connect with the brand (click-to-call, SMS, GPS/beacons).
  • The convenience of shopping in-app allows shoppers to not only check-out faster, but to also see products catered to their preferences and tastes, rather than having to search for it.
  • Consumers love when an app integrates itself with mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet or PayPal. The option to checkout using these apps can definitely make the process more bearable – no more having to manually input your credit card number multiple times!

What this means for brands & marketers

From our survey, we saw a clear trend toward the mobile device as a primary source for mobile shopping among consumers across EMEA. But what does this mean for advertisers?

Top takeaways:

Keep it relevant – nearly half of mobile consumers in EMEA are open to purchasing through an ad, as long as the product is relevant. Reaching the right audience at the right time and place with the right message is key.

Focus on in-app – Speaking of being at the right time and place, it’s important to reach your audience in the right apps. With the holiday season just around the corner and mobile users spending over 30 minutes a day in the most popular apps, advertisers may find it valuable to know which Shopping apps are on the up and up this 2016 shopping season.

About the survey:

What role do our mobile devices play in influencing our shopping habits? Opera Mediaworks surveyed 500 mobile consumers across regions in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in August to find out.

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