eBay calls on Ofcom to unlock m-commerce potential

By Derek du Preez
31 May 2011 View Comments
Shoppers in a rush

M-commerce could deliver a £4.5bn boost to Britain's economy by 2016, with a further £13bn by 2021, according to new research commissioned by online marketplace eBay.

It has called on communications regulator Ofcom to consider the potential for this market when policy makers establish rules for the 4G mobile networks later this year.

Further reading

Retailers are currently missing out on at least £1.3bn as a result of bad mobile broadband connections, according to the research.

"Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity not just for retailers, but for the economy as a whole," said Angus McCarey, retail director for eBay UK.

"But our research shows that consumers and retails are missing out as the cost and reliability of mobile broadband prevents shoppers from spending," he added.

"High quality and reliable mobile broadband coverage throughout the UK has to be our ambition, giving consumers choice over when and how they shop, encourage spending, thereby benefiting online and high-street retail, and giving a much-needed boost to the fragile economic recovery."

The research highlights that 16 per cent of the UK is currently in an "m-commerce not -spot", where mobile spending is at least 20 per cent below the national average.

The worst affected areas include the Scottish Highlands, rural Wales and rural counties of England.

Verdict Research, the company commissioned to carry out the study, also identified that retailers need to upgrade mobile sites if this potential is to be fulfilled.

It revealed that 88 per cent of consumers are less likely to shop via mobile due to the poor shopping experience on a mobile handset.

"With the increasing proliferation of smartphones, more and more consumers want to make the most of the convenience of being able to shop on the move," said Neil Saunders, consulting director at Verdict.

"Retailers need to move fast to optimise their web sites and capture this growing market."

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