Half of all weekend searches in the UK are now made on a mobile device, as smartphones and tablets become the consumer’s go-to for online downtime.

Released today (April 19) by Bing Ads and based on its own network data, the report shows that the bulk of these searches are related to retail (54%), while queries around travel (48%) and finance (36%) follow not far behind.

Those account for the more detailed queries, whereas ‘quick-fix’ searches related to health and restaurants dominate after those made for social media networks have been taken into account.

Peaking at 8:30pm on weekdays and 9pm on weekends, late afternoon and evening proved to be the most popular time for consumers to reach for their smartphone or tablet, as mobile becomes increasingly relied on as a convenient “source of answers”, said Bing.

Continuing surge

With the number of questions asked on smartphones expanding by over 20% every year, this latest study certainly supports a “continuing surge” in mobile e-commerce. According to Bing, smartphone shoppers now make up nearly 81% of all online shoppers in the UK.

The report serves as yet another reminder of the importance for marketers to invest heavily resources into their mobile experience.

That includes honing device-specific ad copy and optimised landing pages that recognise user context, as well as integrating mobile-friendly extensions when relevant to a brand - such as site links, location and call extensions to drive CTR.  

Mascha Driessen, Western Europe ad sales director at Bing Ads comments that the role mobile devices play in consumers’ everyday decision-making processes is “unequivocal”, while the media industry has “yet to crack the nut” on how to engage audiences effectively on devices.

“After all”, she adds; “according to the IAB, only 42% of businesses are using smartphones to reach their audiences.”