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As shoppers go more mobile in 2019, Amazon, eBay and Argos could be the retail winners

By Paul Skeldon January 17, 2019 - 11:05 am

Some 30 million UK shoppers are set to use their mobiles to shop in 2019, spending £25 billion, up 66% on 2018 – and they are going to be turning to Amazon, eBay and Argos to do it.

So suggests research by price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com, which finds that not only are shoppers increasingly picking up their mobiles to shop, but that the most popular websites for doing so are Amazon (89%), eBay (63%) and Argos (41%), because they are one-stop-shops and are easy to use.

And that is the driver for the general move towards mobile, finds the study. The popularity of smartphone and tablet shopping is being driven by convenience, which two thirds (66%) of shoppers say is the main draw of using a smart device. The ability to shop at any time (64%), compare prices (40%) and the superior choice available (39%) are other strong influencers, while more than a third (36%) believe online shopping represents better value.

Clothes are by far the most popular product bought online (69%), ahead of books (51%), groceries (47%) and theatre or cinema tickets (43%).

The convenience and the ‘always on’ nature of smartphone shopping means that no matter where people are, they can spend on their phones. The living room is the preferred location for most (78%), but one in seven Brits (14%) sneakily shop at work and nearly a tenth (8%) do so on their daily commute.

A notable portion (6%) even admit to shopping on their phone while using the bathroom – with those aged under 35 more than twice as likely to do so (14%). In fact, the bathroom is a more popular place to online shop for younger people than the kitchen (13%).

“For so many of us now, our smartphone is an extension of our hand and we have it with us at all times, meaning that we can shop whenever and wherever we like. Our handsets allow us to window shop all the time, and if we see something we like, it is right there at our fingertips. With smartphone and tablet shopping now a £25 billion industry, it’s hardly surprising that  major retailers have long adopted a mobile-first approach to their websites and have even introduced their own apps to make the user experience as easy as possible. Cleaner user journeys and the ease of one-click purchasing will only add to the number of people shopping on their phones and tablets. Providing your phone has a decent connection to either a good broadband supply or 3G or 4G, you can shop any time and any place – and this year more Brits than ever look set to take advantage of that.”
– Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert, uSwitch.com

What is interesting is that the sites and apps that are going to attract this shift to mobile shopping are all marketplaces, or the sites of department stores – a genre of shop that is doing badly in the real world, but seems to increasingly be the choice of shop in the virtual realm.

The one-stop-shop convenience that was once why people went to department stores on the High Street, seems to also be what is driving shoppers in the virtual world and is once again a spur to retailers and brands to get on marketplaces.

  • SAM
    6 months ago

    Argos and Sainsbury is the same company which adds up to eBay’s 63%, and if they do join with ASDA they would be 88%, That is without a marketplace.
    Argos really dragged Sainsbury’s down this year and general merchandise is down, (wonder how much of eBay’s 63% comes from Argos shopping also) however Sainsbury’s online is up 6%, and they are getting ahead before Amazon try and swallow up the groceries market also, and investing heavily in it right now. The Groceries market is the next big fight.

    However Amazon is clearly leagues ahead in GM, and the strange thing is their App is not that great.

    Dixons Carphone is pure awful considering they were so far ahead of Argos at one point, and am surprised the likes of BooHoo etc are not there.

  • 6 months ago

    Counterintuitively, you can’t add 41% to 22% to get 63%. There are some people who use both Argos and Sainsbury and you are double-counting them if you do that.

    For example: do you think that 153% of shoppers have visited eBay and Amazon combined?

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