Mobile Search – the next frontier?
A recent study commissioned by Barclays Corporate found that almost 63% of all mobile owners use their device during the online purchase process at present but that this still accounts for just 5% of total ecommerce spend (£26bn) for 2011.
However, the research predicts that this figure will rise to £19.3bn a year by 2021 due to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablet devices, sales of which are set to hit 6m by the end of this year alone.
This is very promising, but with other research (published by Stibo Systems) showing that only 27% of consumers surveyed were satisfied with their mobile retail experience, due in no small part by the failure of a large percentage of etailers to launch dedicated mobile-friendly sites, it is clear that we still have a long way to go.
One key area where retailers are going to need to get serious, and fast, is in mobile search. Mobile searches for retail offerings have grown by 168% year on year and have driven total retail search volumes at their fastest rate this year in Q3, growing by an impressive 35%, according to the BRC/Google Online Retail Monitor. However, according to the same research mobile search accounted for only 10% of all retail searches online.
With increasing download speeds on mobile devices (iPhone 4s), and the proliferation of 4G, all the figures suggest that search and purchase decisions within mobile is set to grow exponentially. If this growth occurs it has the potential to create it’s own ecosystem, just like the web we know today has done over the past 10 years – but research suggests it will occur at an even quicker rate.
It seems odd then that of all these positive facts and figures around mobile retail there is a contradiction surrounding how it is currently being received by the public. If only a quarter of those using mobile to purchase online are reporting feelings of satisfaction then there is ultimately an issue that needs to be addressed. It’s not enough for retailers to sit back and wait for this magical transition into m-retailing, it’s time to invest some time and money into making it a reality before they are left behind.