Barclays predicts that consumers are set to spend £53.6 billion a year using their smartphones and tablets by 2024, compared with the £9.7 billion spent today

However, the influence of mobile on spending is expected to more than double this figure from £18.4 billion to £112 billion over the same period. This means that nearly half (42.4%) of all retail sales will involve a mobile device in some way or another, making mobile the fastest growing retail segment.

This is against a backdrop of predictions for single digit growth across the wider retail sector, according to research from Barclays. In 2014 the value of retail sales reached £325 billion. During the next five years the sector is forecast to enjoy 8.1% growth taking sales to £351 billion with the figure rising to £391 billion by 2024.

“The size of the retail opportunity is clear for all to see. The question every retailer should be asking themselves is what they are doing about it to not only satisfy today’s consumer but, also tomorrow’s,” says Richard Lowe, Managing Director and Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays.

The number of tablet users has doubled in each of the past two years, with almost half of adults now owning one, while smartphone penetration has rocketed since 2007 following the launch of the first iPhone. In 2009, 14% of consumers owned a smartphone. By 2014 the number had more than quadrupled to 61% and by 2019 around three quarters of adults are predicted to own one.

As a result of the growth in gadgets, almost half (46%) of retailers claim that at least some of their sales are already generated through a mobile device. However, less than 3% believe their business is at the cutting-edge when it comes to being mobile ready and a further 70% said they did not currently offer a mobile website or a mobile app for consumers.

When asked about future strategies, less than a third of retailers said they had a clear plan of action when it comes to future investment in mobile with more than two thirds (68%) conceding that they have no specific plans. Of those which did, developing a mobile website followed by a mobile app and offering mobile payment options were priorities.


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