The number of m-commerce shoppers nearly doubled in five of Europe’s biggest markets in the past 12 months, according to new stats from comScore.

One in six smartphone users in the EU5 (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) now accesses online retail stores and apps on their device, while one in eight users has completed a transaction on their phone.

Typically smartphones shoppers convert at a much lower rate than tablet or desktop users, but the comScore study shows that the market is still growing.

In May this year 16.6% of EU5 smartphone owners accessed retail sites or apps, a 4.6% increase year-on-year.

The UK was the largest market by absolute numbers with 6.5m smartphone retail users, but also had the least rapid growth rate at 74%.

The report, which uses data from comScore MobiLens, found that 12.4% of smartphone owners made a transaction on their device in May.

Clothing and accessories was the most popular retail category followed by books and consumers electronics.

ComScore’s European product manager Hesham Al-Jehani points out that given Europeans’ existing predilection for buying clothes online it’s not surprising to see this category rank as the most popular for purchase via mobile devices. 

But it’s also possible the category’s popularity corresponds with the heavy use of email marketing, with consumers more likely to see and respond to offers on their phones when they check their email.

A separate study by Knotice found that around 27% of emails are now opened on mobile devices.

As part of the report comScore also published its mobile benchmark data, including a review of mobile consumption behaviour and device penetration for the EU5.

It shows that while the UK is second to Spain for the overall penetration of mobile users, proportionally the UK’s mobile population is the most active in every category except listening to music.