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UK is the leader in internet shopping and mobile usage.

The BBC has just published an article based on a survey from Ofcom called “UK is a nation of data-hungry net shoppers, says survey”(13 December 2012). This survey essentially showcases how the UK is leading the way in both internet shopping and mobile data usage – but why is this information so important?

Simply put, the results from this survey, other surveys and statistics that focus on mobile device adoption (specifically smartphones) place increased pressure on businesses to ‘keep up to date’ and stay in touch with the UK consumer. With over a quarter of adults (27%) and almost half of all teenagers (47%) owning a smartphone, the UK has become a nation addicted to smartphones, according to Ofcom.

According to Litmus – “Email Analytics” (September 2012), 38% of email is now opened on a mobile device, with only 33% for desktop clients and only 29% for webmail.  This figure is approximately 11% higher than the figure for the previous year in a study by Knotice, reflecting how the smartphones are progressively replacing other forms of communication: their convenience serving to simplify our increasingly complex lives.. I have always been a gadget man, always searching for that perfect piece of technology that is going to ‘change my life forever’ and I do believe that my first iPhone changed my life.  However, I know that (as a techno geek) I make a lot more effort than most when it comes to bringing new technology into my life. What has shocked me is the level of adoption of the smartphone – and also tablets – by the non-tech community, a case in point….my wife.

My wife started using a smartphone about 6 months ago after some pressure from me and after an initial period of resistance “why do I need all of these features, I just want to make a simple telephone call!”, etc, etc, I am glad to say that she ran with it. Now my wife schedules our lives via the calendars, completes the weekly shop using the apps, monitors her jogging stats, takes pictures of our sons, keeps up to date with all of her social media channels, replies to emails, reads books, listens to music and lastly, something I never thought I would say….plays games! In her own admission, she could not imagine life without her smartphone as she has developed a total reliance on it. Plainly put, good technology moulds and shapes the way we go about our daily lives.

Now this may seem an obvious statement to make considering the impact that both the radio and television had on lifestyles since being introduced nearly 100 years ago, but the difference usage has developed because of consumer expectation. For instance, with radio and television, the technology evolved, but the usage largely remained the same.  Back in the early days, people watched the television for information and shows: a hundred years later this usage remained near enough the same. However, smartphone usage is constantly evolving: it was a phone, then good for texting, then great for checking emails whilst on the move, then it could take pictures, browse websites, record my calendar, shop online, read news, monitor my diet, watch tv….

So what should businesses be doing now? Businesses should be looking at these surveys and statistics to build new business models that develop in line with consumer trends. For instance, retailers should not be shutting down stores and moving all business online, they should be ensuring their online presence is an accessible extension of the in-store experience and vice-versa. The customer journey is both on the high-street and online, so businesses should ensure that both experiences support and reinforce one another.

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This entry was posted on December 14, 2012 by in ecommerce, High street retail, mobile commerce, online marketing, tech, technology, Trends.

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