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M-commerce peaks in the afternoon

05 January 2011 - 14:12 by Sarah Collinson

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Research suggests that smartphone owners are using their handsets to surf the internet at an ever increasing rate, with 4.30pm representing the busiest time of day for mobile web usage in the UK.

Analyst firm, GfK Retail, published results of a study which looks into the way that the swelling smartphone segment is helping to increase m-commerce sales and boost the number of people enjoying safe shopping online wherever they are.

On average, smartphone users visit 24 websites from their mobiles, reaching a peak in the middle of the afternoon, just as people are starting to come home from work and need something to keep them entertained on the monotonous commute.

GfK's Fredrik Hallberg said that websites which offer safe shopping online would need access to this type of data in order to properly target the growing number of people who are using their smartphones to get online.

The good news for the sites which have already invested in mobile sites and platforms for m-commerce is that recent figures published by Usablenet, suggest that traffic levels for such services have increased by between 50 and 100 per cent in many cases.

2010 was a good year for many high street retailers who took the plunge and perfected their m-commerce outlets, with big gains made by the likes of John Lewis, Debenhams and Tesco to name just three. 2011 is set to be even better, with analysts confident that m-commerce will grow despite strains on the economy and the VAT rise.

Significantly the study by GfK shows that while mobile users are surfing more regularly, the sites they choose to visit are actually full-sized versions, rather than mobile-centric offerings. This means dedicated apps are not necessary for m-commerce success in the short term, although this could change.