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Fashion retailers need to get on board with mobile shopping fast says new study

Retailers without a fully developed omnichannel strategy need to act fast because the next few years will see a steady progression in consumers shopping via their smartphones and tablets. That’s according to a new report looking at UK consumers that also provides a lesson for retailers worldwide.

So what’s the story?  Mobile devices will be used in 13.7% of all UK retail sales within 10 years’ time, up from just 3% last year, but fashion sales will be an even bigger percentage and fashion is turning into the biggest category via mobile devices.

Such devices are expected to play a role in 42% of all retail transactions, from browsing products to paying at the tills, according to a Barclays study.

Britons will spend £53.6bn a year via smartphones and tablets in 2024 – accounting for almost £1 in every £7 spent in UK stores – compared to £9.7bn in the past year, the report claims.

However, less than a third of the 221 retailers polled said they had a clear plan to invest in mobile. Meanwhile, over 70% said mobile services do not help to generate new sales, reflecting the rise of customer ‘showrooming’, or browsing on the high street before buying the product elsewhere online.

“There’s some theatre about retail and it’s a social occasion too. Some of these mobile features will bring back that theatre,” said Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays. “I think showrooming will continue, but it’s part of a retailer’s marketing – when you have a physical high street store, internet sales do increase because people see and think about the brand.”

More than a third of users currently browse or shop through their phone, according to the poll conducted by Conlumino for Barclays.

One in five people bought clothes via a mobile device in the last year, making fashion the most popular type of mobile shopping.

The biggest barriers to shopping on mobile gadgets were security, difficulty using the site and a limited range of products, according to the poll.

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