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M-commerce overtakes mail order catalogues in UK

18 August 2010 - 15:20 by David Aiken

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A new study has found that UK consumers are more likely to use their mobiles to make purchases and to research products than traditional mail order catalogue services, which signals the arrival of yet another M-commerce milestone.

A survey conducted by eDigitalResearch and Portaltech found that a quarter of UK shoppers harnessed their internet-ready mobiles to make purchases, check up on deals and seek out product information over the period of a week. During this timeframe only 16 per cent of respondents had turned to catalogues for the same purpose.

Smartphone owners were the most likely to use their mobiles to carry out safe shopping online, with 33 per cent stating that they would search for deals online and a fifth of this proportion said that they went on to complete an order on their phones.

eDigitalResearch's Chris Russell said that this survey showed that the popularity of m-commerce had reached a tipping point and that retailers would need to adjust their sales strategies in order to make the most of the boom in the use of mobiles for safe shopping online. Mr Russell said that many businesses would need to invest in new technologies and retail platforms as a result of the shift in consumer shopping trends.

This survey is the latest piece of research to suggest that the dawn of m-commerce in the UK has well and truly broken, with a continually expanding audience of mainstream consumers taking advantage of the convenience and money-saving potential afforded by shopping on a mobile phone.

With a greater emphasis on m-commerce comes a greater risk of the widespread exploitation of mobile phones by criminals. High profile cases of mobile apps and text messages bringing malicious software to popular platforms such as Google's Android have emerged and retailers will thus need to endeavour to ensure security for any customers who shop on their mobiles.