Online retailer eBay calling for policymakers to support the growth of m-commerce, an industry that brings over £50 billion to the UK economy annually, in a report published today.
The leading online marketplace has submitted to government its Mobile Manifesto, setting out plans to ensure that improvements to the burgeoning digital communications industry are prioritised.
A recent report prepared for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Committee states that the industry is worth over £50 billion to the UK economy and directly employs 531,000 UK workers.
The development of the Mobile Manifesto follows recent research conducted for eBay by retail analysts Verdict showing that mobile shopping could deliver a £4.5 billion boost to Britain’s economy by 2016, and a further £13 billion by 2021
eBay has called on Ofcom to proceed as quickly as possible to enable the rollout of next generation broadband in 2013 in order to improve m-commerce. Additional research from Verdict shows that 36 per cent of consumers shop on their mobiles whilst traveling and so improving network coverage on railways and roads would also be a beneficial move.
Retailers must be ready to harness the potential of the mobile economy, according to eBay, as its manifesto brought together retailers, network operators, industry bodies and consumer groups who made clear that developments are a necessity.
Rosie Srao, Mobile Business Development Manager at Marks and Spencer welcomed the findings.
“Our customers are increasingly using their mobiles to make shopping more convenient and easy while they are on the go and it’s up to us to make sure that we make the customer journey as simple, fast and engaging as possible,” she commented.
Security remains a primary concern for shoppers, as 68 per cent have concerns about giving out personal details over a mobile connection and believe that mobile network providers are responsible for addressing this issue.
Of the respondents surveyed 57 per cent believe that retailers are also responsible for security, while 63 per cent said that it is the role of the banks and service providers.
Roaming charges for consumers aiming to use their smartphones abroad are prohibiting further sales and eBay has given recommendations on how to reduce these charges.
While 53 per cent have used their mobile internet to browse and find a store location whilst abroad, 43 per cent have compared product prices and 36 per cent have used mobile internet to buy a product, 63 per cent of respondents said they are put off using the internet more overseas because of the cost of downloading data.
Miriam Lahage, Vice President of Global Fashion at eBay, pointed out that the industry remains resilient despite cutbacks in other areas as consumers now see mobile technology as a necessary expense.
“As smartphone and tablet ownership increases there will be even greater potential rewards for companies investing in mobile, and this is particularly true for retailers,” Lahage added.
“At eBay in the UK we now see around 10 per cent of sales by value transacted on mobile devices, but we need the right infrastructure in the UK to match this demand.
“For retailers, it’s about putting mobile at the heart of your strategy and creating a site that is optimised for every device.”