Mobile continues to grow in significance for European businesses as more customers use smartphones, tablets and wearable technology to surf the web and shop online. More than two thirds of Europe’s population, about half a billion people, are online1 and 45% of them are younger than the age 35 (Comscore)2. Mobile internet traffic in Europe doubled between May 2013 and May 2014 (Statista)3, a significant indicator of the future trend.
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have up to 96% of the population subscribed to “mobile broadband” and about one-half are active social media users on mobile devices.4
If we consider Europe as a whole region, about 40% of its population is actively using social media, although usage figures vary considerably amongst the more than 50 countries. Two-thirds of these active users regularly access sites from their mobile devices.5
The countries with the highest number of social media users on mobile devices are6:
- 30M – United Kingdom
- 20M – France
- 20M – Italy
- 16M – Russia
- 15M – Spain
Italy and Russia are the most ‘socially active’ nations in Europe with more than 40% of their Internet usage on social media.7
Spain has approximately 61% of its population using mobile Internet and 44% of mobile users are accessing social media.8 Most smartphone users search for local information and to research products.
UK continues to push the limits with mobile. Visits to retail websites on mobile devices have overtaken desktop traffic for the first time ever, according to the Quarterly Benchmarking Report from Interactive Media in Retail Group and Capgemini, dated September 2, 2014. 52% of traffic to UK retail websites now come from smartphones and tablets.9
Tina Spooner, Chief Information Officer at IMRG, said that these results reveal a huge landmark in the growth of mobile commerce in the UK. “Considering that as recently as 2010 mobile visits to e-retail sites accounted for less than 3% of traffic, this latest milestone represents staggering growth of 2,000% over the past 4 years. These results clearly demonstrate that retailers’ investment in mobile optimization is encouraging consumers to adopt mobile devices as a shopping platform.”10
Statista Inc., a leading international statistics company on the Internet, projects a 20% growth in number of mobile users in the UK by Q2 of 2016 and a staggering sixfold increase in mobile data traffic across much of Europe by 2018.11
The information above serves a good indicator of the trend towards “making-it-mobile” in store for all of Europe. This also highlights the need for all businesses in Europe and the United States to adapt their online marketing strategies so that they are able to best engage the growing number of mobile users.
2. Comscore, Global State of Digital, July 2013
5, 6, 7, 8, 10. Ibid
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