The roll-out of 4G could boost the British retail sector by �1.8 billion in a year in extra mobile shopping revenue

4G rollout predicted to boost mobile retail by �1.8bn

High-speed 4G could boost the British retail sector by an estimated £1.8bn in a year, a new study suggests.

The faster broadband service is expected to reduce the frustration caused by slow or unreliable Internet access, which can deter consumers from making purchases on smartphones.

Retail analysts at eBay Europe, which commissioned the report, believe the national 4G roll-out could prompt a 113 per cent surge in mobile shopping.

Olivier Ropars, senior director of mobile commerce, said: "Consumers today want convenience and speed. The arrival of universal 4G will bring with it a more immersive, instant and intimate shopping experience than ever before, putting the most exciting features of mobile retail as we know it into high definition.

"It won't just turbo-charge the way we shop. It will truly give us the ability to shop anytime, anywhere. That means an extra £1.8bn of consumer spending up for grabs."

The study revealed more than half (55 per cent) of consumers use a smartphone or tablet when shopping more frequently than this time last year, when mobile spending totalled £1.59bn, according to retail research agency Conlumino.

It showed just under a third of Brits now use their phone before making a purchase, either to browse, check prices or to buy an item, and further findings revealed more than half (50.3 per cent) of mobile shoppers were frustrated by Internet speeds and just under half (49.6 per cent) complained about reliability.

Conlumino identified the proportion of customers who claimed they would buy more if these problems were eradicated.

Analysts questioned shoppers about how much they would spend with faster and more reliable Internet access to estimate the monetary impact of 4G on the retail sector, arriving at the figure of £1.8bn.

Neil Saunders, director of Conlumino, said: "Retailers today must take every chance to engage consumers, inspiring them and giving them every possible opportunity to buy and interact with their brands.

"An omnichannel approach is key to making this happen and with universal 4G on the horizon, retailers can't afford to stand still."

Conlumino interviewed 2,081 consumers about their mobile habits and opinions on 4G in February and March.

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