mobilephone1Just over half of mobile phone owners (51pc) in the UK, or 23 million people, are now using their devices for mobile commerce – whether it’s making payments, redeeming coupons or researching products and services – according to new research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).

The study also found that smartphone users are 63pc more likely to engage with m-commerce than all users.

The IAB said the study “shows once again the urgent need for retailers to catch up with the mobile consumer and enhance the user experience to ensure they don’t miss out on sales”.

The study of over 1,000 mobile owners found that 43pc of respondents had used mobile to conduct research for a purchase, while 40pc have used their device to check shop details such as contact information, location and opening hours. The IAB said usability was found to be key, with those who find research easy 16pc more likely to make a purchase than those who don’t.

The study also found that 37pc of people have used their mobile to purchase a service/product direct to their phone bill. Within this, 32pc have paid for downloaded content, 21pc have used a shortcode to pay for a product/service, and 13pc entered a phone number to pay for a product/service.

More than a quarter of mobile owners (27pc) have used mobile to purchase via cards, bank details or PayPal. This includes buying an app through an app store (21pc), via mobile website (19pc) and via an app itself (15pc). Consumers purchasing via these means are spending an average of £12.20 each time.

Of consumers who made a purchase on mobile, 42pc said they did so because they felt it was the easiest option. A fifth of mobile users (21pc) said they were using coupons and vouchers on their mobile and 23pc said they have used their device as a ticket for events or travel.

“Whilst m-commerce is on the radar for many retailers, our research highlights the need for more urgency in terms of developing a mobile presence and ensuring the user experience is as smooth and secure as possible,” said Alex Kozloff, mobile manager at the Internet Advertising Bureau. “Almost half of mobile users are making purchases, and of those who don’t, half again are certain they will in the future, so investment in a solid mobile retail presence is essential.”