However, the research by Barclays shows that the influence of mobile on spending is expected to more than double this figure from £18.4 billion to £112 billion over the same period. This means that over 42% of all retail sales are expected to involve a mobile device in some way or another, making mobile the fastest growing retail segment.
Richard Lowe, managing director and head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, said: “The size of the retail opportunity is clear for all to see. The question every retailer should be asking themselves is what they are doing about it to not only satisfy today’s consumer but, also tomorrow’s.”
The number of tablet users has doubled in each of the past two years, with almost half of adults now owning one, while smartphone penetration has rocketed since 2007 following the launch on the first iPhone. In 2009, 14% of consumers owned a smartphone. By 2014 the number had more than quadrupled to 61% and by 2019 around three quarters of adults are predicted to own one.
As a result of the growth in gadgets, 46% of retailers polled claimed that at least some of their sales were generated through a mobile device. However, less than 3% believed their business was at the cutting-edge when it came to being mobile ready and a further 70% said they did not currently offer a mobile website or a mobile app for consumers.
When asked about future strategies, less than a third of retailers said they had a clear plan of action regarding future investment in mobile with 68% conceding that they had no specific plans.
Meanwhile, 57% of consumers polled suggested that all shops should offer free hotspots while a further 42% said they were always on the lookout for free Wi-Fi hotspots when out and about.
Lowe continued: “While it may be premature to sound the death knell for desktops and laptops nearly half of consumers claim to be shopping far less on these devices thanks to mobile. With new gadgets and gizmos such as the Apple watch being launched all the time, this trend will inevitably gain momentum.
“There is also a lingering notion that mobile shopping is bad for store retailing. The physical high street store still has a fundamental role to play and the development of hybrids such as click and collect has conclusively demonstrated that stores can be supported rather than hindered by the growth of digital commerce. Inevitably practices such as ‘showrooming’ leads to some sales shifting online but, with almost three quarters of consumers using their mobile devices whilst out and about, ignoring this trend would be a missed opportunity.”