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Britain leads US, France and Germany for mobile commerce: report

Mobile commerce applications are used by more British smartphone owners and for longer periods of time compared to their counterparts in the United States, France and Germany, according to a new report from Arbitron.

In Britain, mobile commerce apps are used by 66.8 percent of smartphone owners compared with 55.9 percent in the U.S., 57.6 percent in Germany and 52.5 percent in France. EBay is the leading mobile commerce app in Britain, used by 44 percent of smartphone users in March.

“Once again, UK Smartphone users demonstrate their technological savvyness and interest for novel distribution channels, being much more active users of mcommerce applications than their comparable European and American counterparts,” said Andreas Piani, general manager of European Arbitron Mobile.  

“The number of mcommerce sessions and total time spent with these services are over 50 percent higher than for the average of all surveyed Western markets,” he said.

EBay shoppping
Users in Britain spent nearly two-and-a-half hours with the eBay app in an average of 50 sessions per month.

Amazon Mobile is the second biggest mobile commerce app in Britain, used by 16 percent of smartphone users followed by Groupon with 10.5 percent of the audience, Nectar with 10.1 percent and Maximiles with 8.9 percent.

Additionally, British users spent 134.8 minutes per month using these apps compared with 91 minutes for U.S. users, 74.3 percent for Germans and 56.1 percent for the French.

“If they haven’t already, merchants should be taking advantage of the development of the mobile medium and ensure that they have a diversified strategy to engage consumers across different touch points – mcommerce isn’t just an appendix to ecommerce, and apps aren’t just a downloadable declination of mobile-optimized sites,” Mr. Piani said.

“It’s also crucial to have a plan to deal with the highly fragmented nature of the medium and ensure that all properties are optimized across the prevalent operating systems, device types and screen sizes,” he said.

Seasonal variations
The report also found that British smartphone owners come back to mobile commerce apps frequently, 54.5 sessions per month compared with 30.8 for U.S. consumers, 32.1 for Germans and 23.9 for French users.

Other key findings include that mobile commerce app usage declined slightly through December and the first two months of the year, but rebounded to a six-month peak in March.

“Looking at the data over several months, there seems to be a counter-effect to the traditional Christmas bump in retail sales via physical shops, as mobile shopping usage is actually lowest in December,” Mr. Piani said.

“Generally, mcommerce seems to be subject to lower seasonal variations than bricks-and-mortar shops or classic ecommerce operations,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York