Research from online marketplace eBay reckons that coverage problems, poor connections and slow data speeds are costing UK retailers over £1 billion from mobile shopping. It’s asking UK regulator Ofcom to make sure m-commerce is considered and consumer frustrations are taken into account when 4G licences are auctioned.
eBay’s research, conducted by Verdict, says network coverage (79%), reliability (85%), speed (86%) and the cost of data (80%) are all seen as significant barriers to mobile shopping. When asked, customers said networks and regulators should concentrate on the cost of data, followed by improving coverage in rural areas.
The top mobile shopping ‘not-spots’, where mobile spending was significantly below the national average, were all in Scotland: the Outer Hebrides, Lerwick and Kirkwall. The top place for mobile shopping was Birmingham, where m-spending was 75% above the national average.
Angus McCarey, UK Retail Director for eBay UK, said “Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity not just for retailers, but for the economy as a whole. But our research shows that consumers and retailers are missing out as the cost and reliability of mobile broadband prevents shoppers from spending. High quality and reliable mobile broadband coverage throughout the UK has to be our ambition, giving consumers choice over when and how they shop, encouraging spending, thereby benefitting online and high street retail, and giving a much needed boost to the fragile economic recovery.”
eBay says it expects global mobile sales to exceed $4 billion this year; more than double the 2010 figure.