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Half of UK population now shopping on smartphones

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17/01/2019
This year consumers will be as likely to use their smartphones to shop as a laptop or desktop, according to new research by uSwitch.com.

Spending on smartphones is up £10bn on last year, with shoppers planning to spend £25 billion this year. Smartphone use is spreading: last year just 18m Brits were comfortable using a smartphone to shop; today that figure is over 30m.

Mostly, this is convenience: Two thirds (66%) of respondents to the uSwitch.com survey said this is the main draw of using a smart device. Some take this to extremes – 6% admit to shopping on their phone in the bathroom, though the living room is the preferred location (78%).

The ability to shop at any time (64%), compare prices (40%) and the superior choice available (39%) are other factors. More than a third believes online shopping helps them get better prices.

In terms of products, shoppers are most comfortable buying clothes online (69%), but are also happy to buy books (51%), groceries (47%) and theatre or cinema tickets (43%). Unsurprisingly, Amazon tops the list for more popular website, alongside eBay and the those of the major supermarkets.

Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, said: “For so many of us now, our smartphone is an extension of our hand and we have it with us at all times, meaning that we can shop whenever and wherever we like. Our handsets allow us to window shop all the time, and if we see something we like, it is right there at our fingertips.

“With smartphone and tablet shopping now a £25 billion industry, it’s hardly surprising that major retailers have long adopted a mobile-first approach to their websites and have even introduced their own apps to make the user experience as easy as possible. Cleaner user journeys and the ease of one-click purchasing will only add to the number of people shopping on their phones and tablets.”

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