Nearly all (96%) of British adults aged 16-24 browse ‘on-the-go’, according to ONS’s yearly report on internet usage in the UK.

The use of mobile internet has increased exponentially in the last few years according to ‘Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2015’, driven by smartphone penetration and access to 4G.

This figure is nearly four times that of the stat boasted in 2010.

“The advent of the smartphone and access to reliable mobile internet has changed the landscape completely in the last five years,” says Dan Wagner, CEO at mobile commerce platform Powa Technologies.   

“In today’s always-on, mobile-driven culture, it seems hard to believe that only 24% of people accessed the internet via mobile in 2010.”

Writing on the wall

While the ‘writing has been on the wall’ for years, Wagner warns that a surprising number of brands and retailers have yet to adjust their strategies to changes in consumer demand with anywhere-anytime internet access.

“People have become accustomed to the ability to browse and buy on a whim, and time is running out quickly for those brands without a comprehensive mobile strategy,” he added.

The ONS report also found that around a quarter of mobile internet users make a purchase on their phone or use it to find nearby retail outlets, while over half (54%) of UK homes now own a tablet device.

Purchase journey

While a quarter of shoppers are buying products on smartphones, a significant proportion of consumers are using mobile devices within a longer purchase journey.

“They start by researching and comparing products on their mobile devices before moving to another screen, be that their PC, laptop, or even smartwatch,” comments Rakuten Marketing Europe’s MD, Mark Haviland.

“Marketers must realise the value of mobile as a facilitator for commerce on other channels. Only with an omnichannel approach and optimised, targeted advertising, can marketers provide a seamless and consistent customer experience and make the most of this mobile boom.”

Saturation point

For brands looking to get ahead in the m-commerce industry, it may not be enough to simply provide an online store.

Retailers must seek new ways to ‘attract and engage’ customers through devices wherever they are,  “whether walking past a shop window, waiting for a bus, or browsing online at home,” adds Wagner.   

“Mobile engagement also holds the key to uniting online and physical sales, creating a single seamless experience to match consumer expectations.”

With the latest ONS report showing that mobile internet access and smartphone ownership are reaching saturation point, it appears retailers now have the opportunity to move their shopping experience above and beyond the current methods of attracting, entertaining and selling to customers .