With the countdown to Christmas well underway, shoppers are turning to their mobile devices in their droves to beat the last-minute high street rush. In fact, the UK trade body for online retailers, IMRG, recently forecasted that Christmas 2011 is when mobile
moves mainstream, with 35% of people saying that they plan to do more shopping using their phone this year.
Data from IBM and PayPal also shows a sharp rise in online and mobile shopping over the US Thanksgiving holiday, with mobile traffic increasing to 14.3% on Black Friday 2011, compared to 5.6% in 2010. iPhone and iPad consumers accounted for 10.2% of all
online retail traffic on Black Friday.
These findings highlight that shopping via a mobile device is no longer a minority activity. The same way in which online shopping has become the norm, mobile shopping is becoming mainstream, albeit at a much quicker pace. And UK shoppers are embracing new
technologies faster than their global counterparts, according to a new KPMG report. Apparently 77% of British shoppers prefer to buy goods such as CDs, DVDs, books and video games online - compared with 65% worldwide.
Interestingly, only 27% of consumers in the UK said they had used some form of mobile banking in the past six months. That compares with 52% globally – which has jumped from just under 20% in 2008, illustrating how popular mobile banking has become in other
parts of the world.
Why is it that UK consumers are perfectly happy to shop via their mobile devices and yet take up of mobile banking services has been slower? Foremost, there is still a real lack of customer friendly mobile banking services being offered in the UK in comparison
to the US. Furthermore, according to KPMG, it is because Brits are more concerned about privacy and data security – yet consumers are willing to enter payment details into retail sites without question? It is clear that there is still a perceived security
threat with mobile banking in the UK that is preventing widespread adoption. Financial institutions must educate their customers about mobile banking security and pave the way for a more prominent cultural shift.
Aside from security fears, in a lot of cases mobile shopping is easier than mobile banking too. The banking industry can learn from the retail industry’s approach to offer mobile web and app services that are optimised for different smartphones. Will
2012 be the landmark year for mobile banking that everyone is predicting?
James Richards (Director, Mobile - IE)