UK Mobile Retail Access via Smartphone Grew 163 Percent in Past Year

*Mobile Browsers, Rather than Apps, Drive Access to Mobile Retail Activities Across EU5*

LONDON, UK, 29th July, 2011 – comScore, Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, today released data from the comScore MobiLens service showing that 13.5 million users across the five leading European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK), accounting for 5.8 percent of all mobile subscribers, accessed online retail sites in the three month average period ending May 2011. In the EU5 region, the number of smartphone users accessing online retail sites has increased by 80 percent over the past year. This growth is even stronger in the UK, with a 163-percent increase in smartphone users accessing retail sites since May 2010.

“Over the past year, online retailers enjoyed strong growth in visitation from mobile devices in Europe, largely driven by the acceleration in smartphone ownership,” said Jeremy Copp, comScore Europe vice president for mobile. “This trend represents both an opportunity and a threat for retailers. While mobile access offers retailers incremental occasions to engage with customers, it also provides customers the ability to easily compare prices at competing retailers while inside a particular retailer’s store. Retailers must get a firm handle on mobile shopping behavior if they are to effectively navigate this changing environment.”

UK, Germany, and Italy Show High Mobile Retail Activity, Buoyed by Smartphone Ownership
In addition to accessing online retail sites, mobile consumers also accessed auction sites and shopping guides on their mobile devices. Over the three month average period ending May 2011, 6.3 percent of all EU5 mobile users reported having accessed an online auction site and 5.1 percent also reported having accessed online shopping guides.

Across the EU5 markets, the UK had the highest penetration for the three mobile retail categories. Approximately one in ten mobile users in the UK (10.5 percent) reported having accessed auction sites. A similar percentage (9.2 percent) accessed online retail sites and 5.7 percent accessed shopping guides. The number of mobile users accessing online retail sites grew by 118 percent over the previous year, a rate that is even more pronounced among smartphone users (up 163 percent). The UK also displayed the most growth for users accessing auction sites (up 95 percent) and users accessing shopping guides (up 71 percent).

Mobile Retail Activity Among Total Mobile Subscribers
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011
Total EU5 (FR, DE, IT, ES and UK), Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Penetration (%) of Mobile Subscribers
EU5 France Germany Italy Spain UK
Accessed Auction Sites 6.3% 3.6% 6.7% 6.0% 4.1% 10.5%
Accessed Online Retail Sites 5.8% 3.4% 6.5% 5.7% 3.4% 9.2%
Accessed Shopping Guides 5.1% 3.4% 5.4% 6.6% 4.3% 5.7%

Second only to the UK, the German mobile market also displayed significant increases in users accessing auction sites (up 44 percent), users accessing online retail sites (up 45 percent) and users accessing shopping guides (up 42 percent). The growth in mobile retail activity in Germany is similarly more pronounced among the subset of smartphone users, as the number of users reporting having accessed auction sites, online retail sites or shopping guides approximately doubled in each of those categories. Such growth coincides with strong gains in smartphone ownership, which grew 63 percent in Germany and 56 percent in the UK over the past year.

Growth in Mobile Retail Activity Penetration Among Total Mobile Subscribers and Smartphone Owners
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011
Total EU5 (FR, DE, IT, ES and UK), Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Growth (%) Among Mobile Subscribers
Total Mobile Audience EU5 France Germany Italy Spain UK
Accessed Auction Sites 36% 6% 44% 1% 10% 95%
Accessed Online Retail Sites 37% 24% 45% -5% -5% 118%
Accessed Shopping Guides 31% 20% 42% 10% 21% 71%
Smartphone Audience
Accessed Auction Sites 76% 51% 100% 13% 35% 141%
Accessed Online Retail Sites 80% 80% 106% 8% 22% 163%
Accessed Shopping Guides 72% 86% 98% 25% 63% 109%

Browser Access Dominates Mobile Retail Activities
An analysis of mobile browser vs. app usage provides additional insight into the growth in mobile retail penetration. Across all markets, auction sites, online retail sites and shopping guides were accessed through a browser by a greater percentage of smartphone owners when compared to app access. Browser usage was more pronounced in France, Italy and Spain, with applications used by less than 3 percent of smartphone users in these three markets. Germany showed relatively high percentages of app access for mobile retail activities, although a larger share of smartphone owners still reported using browsers. A notable exception to this is the UK, where the percentage of smartphone owners that reported using apps to access auction sites (11.6 percent) was higher than the percentage that reported using browsers (10.0 percent).

“With mobile browsers still driving mobile retail activity in Europe, retailers hoping to capitalize on this trend should first look to develop a mobile-optimized website if they haven’t already,” said Jeremy Copp. “Apps, which often provide a more powerful and intuitive interface than browsers, will become increasingly important – especially as consumers begin to transact over their phones with greater regularity.”

Mobile Retail Access Method Among Smartphone Owners
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011
Total EU5 (FR, DE, IT, ES and UK), Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Penetration (%) of Smartphone Owners
EU5 France Germany Italy Spain UK
Application Access
Accessed Auction Sites 5.6% 2.8% 7.2% 2.6% 1.7% 11.6%
Accessed Online Retail Sites 4.4% 2.6% 6.3% 2.3% 1.4% 7.9%
Accessed Shopping Guides 2.5% 1.7% 4.6% 2.1% 0.9% 3.0%
Browser Access
Accessed Auction Sites 6.6% 4.2% 8.5% 5.4% 3.9% 10.0%
Accessed Online Retail Sites 7.2% 4.4% 9.4% 5.1% 3.5% 11.8%
Accessed Shopping Guides 6.2% 4.8% 7.3% 6.2% 4.6% 7.5%

May 2011 European Mobile Benchmark Data
The table below shows comScore’s May 2011 mobile benchmark data, including a review of mobile consumption behaviors and device penetration for the five EU countries under measurement. These benchmarks are published by comScore to provide the most up-to-date snapshot of the mobile industry. Further information on these benchmarks, and other data included above, can be provided upon request.

Mobile Benchmark Data for the European Market
3 Month Avg. Ending May 2011
Total EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT), Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Reach (%) of Mobile Subscribers
EU5 France Germany Italy Spain UK
Sent Text Message 82.4% 83.2% 79.1% 79.1% 79.5% 90.5%
Used Application (excl. pre-installed) 31.3% 28.2% 27.6% 29.3% 30.8% 40.9%
Used Browser 31.6% 31.6% 25.4% 27.8% 29.6% 44.0%
Listened to Music 25.9% 23.1% 26.7% 23.8% 32.4% 25.2%
Accessed Social Networking Site or Blog 20.7% 19.9% 14.6% 18.9% 18.8% 31.6%
Accessed News 16.1% 15.4% 13.5% 14.8% 12.5% 23.9%
Played Games 26.2% 15.2% 24.3% 30.7% 28.6% 32.8%
Used Smartphone 36.0% 31.5% 29.4% 38.4% 40.8% 41.9%

*Source: comScore

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