A new report investigating consumer opinions of mobile commerce has found that there is still a perception that the mobile web offers a poor user experience.

More than a third (37%) of respondents in the EPiServer survey agreed that many mobile websites are difficult to navigate, an increase from 32% in 2011.

The survey also found that consumers are increasingly unforgiving of mobile sites and apps that aren’t up to scratch.

Almost half of respondents (47%) claim that if an app is hard to use they will stop using or delete it compared to 41% in the previous survey.

People apparently have slightly more patience with mobile sites, although 38% still said that they would stop using a mobile site that is difficult to use.

In truth these stats need to be taken with a pinch of salt as it’s incredibly difficult for survey respondents to accurately predict their future behaviour, but it still highlights the importance of delivering a decent user experience on mobile platforms.

It’s a topic I’ve previously investigated in a post examining whether mobile checkouts are simple enough to capture repeat shoppers, and yesterday I highlighted several user experience problems with H&M’s new transactional app.

The EPiServer survey also asked respondents about the problems they encounter most often when using the mobile web.

Almost half (49%) of respondents cited slow loading times as the most common problem, followed by having to scroll both horizontally and vertically (48%) and links being too small to click on (35%).

Interestingly, 42% of respondents said they found it frustrating that mobile sites don’t offer the same functionality found on a desktop, which in my opinion reveals an ignorance of the capabilities of the mobile web.

Mobile sites vs. apps

For browsing, mobile websites proved to be marginally more popular than apps with 63% of respondents accessing websites on their smartphone daily compared to 60% using apps.

And the same is true of mobile commerce, as just over half (51%) of respondents claim to complete a purchase using the mobile web at least once a month compared to 40% that use apps.

This contradicts a recent report form Compuware which found that consumer preference is strongly in favour of apps (85%) ahead of mobile sites.

The most common reason for this is that apps are seen to be more convenient (55%), faster (48%) and easier to browse (40%).

Purchases via mobile websites versus purchases on apps

The difference is even more pronounced on tablets, with 64% of respondents accessing websites daily compared to 55% through apps and 74% making purchases at least once a month using websites versus 60% through apps.

EPiServer’s consumer survey was conducted by OnePoll in March 2013 and consulted 1,000 UK consumers.