Shoppers to spend £25bn using smartphones in 2019

Sian Bradley's picture
Smartphone shopping is on the rise

Smartphone shopping is now more popular than high street shopping, research by USwitch has revealed.

UK-based price comparison service asked shoppers to share their habits, and found that they plan to spend £10bn more using mobile retail this year, than they did in 2018 - reaching a whopping £25bn.

According to the research, more than 58 per cent of Brits will use smart devices to shop this year. This translates into 30 million people, and represents an increase of 12 million, or 66 per cent, when compared with 2018.

High street shopping also fell below smartphone shopping in popularity for the first time this year, but only slightly. A respectable 56% of respondents said they would visit a shopping centre in 2019.

High street vs online shopping

Still, high street shopping is feeling the strain as shoppers turn to the convenience of mobile shopping. Respondents told USwitch they liked shopping on a smartphone because they could do so at any time, and can easily compare prices to find the best deal from a whole range of options.  

Shoppers will still be attracted to the high street for physically trying clothes on, but with the rise in e-commerce AR and quick and easy returns, this could become increasingly redundant.

However, John Gillan, northern MD at Criteo, argues that shopping in store is not dead yet - as long as retailers adapt accordingly to the rise in mobile purchasing. “They quickly need to reimagine the instore experience,” he suggested. “Retailers need to make shopping experiences more like what people experience online, in terms of shareability, and look and feel in terms of aesthetics and photography.”

To effectively understand and respond to this trend, retailers should also employ AI and machine learning to analyse data of consumer behaviour and preference.

Essentially, shopping in the future may be a blend of mobile and high street. “Omnishoppers actually spend the most of all consumers, meaning there’s a huge bonus to retailers who can marry the convenience of mobile with in-store shopping through experiential shopping and click-and-collect or showrooming,” John concluded.