Stats from IMRG and Experian Hitwise released today show the ten most popular mobile retail sites in the UK. They are, as you may expect, almost the same as the top desktop sites, with the exception of Apple. 

So, since these retailers have the most popular sites, (and they must be aware of this from their own analytics) you would expect that they have optimised for mobile users. 

I've been taking a closer look at the sites.. 

The top 10 UK mobile commerce sites

First of all, here's the top 10: 

According to IMRG, the Amazon UK and sites accounted for over 10% of mobile visits to retail sites in April 2013, with Argos receiving 2.3% of visits.

Mobile now accounts for 20% of the UK online retail market, up from less than 1% in 2010. Mobile visits to online retail sites now account for almost one in three ecommerce site visits in the UK.

There is, therefore, an incentive for these retailers to provde the best possible mobile customer experience to make the most of this growth in traffic. 

I've been loooking at each of these retailers on mobile...


Both Amazon sites (UK and .com) are great examples for other retailers. Amazon (like eBay) adapted to mobile commerce very quickly, and has been instrumental in driving mobile retail (and showrooming). 

It has taken a broad appraoch, creating mobile-optimised sites, as well as a range of m-commerce apps for different platforms, thereby appealing to a wide range of mobile users. 

As David Moth explained in a previous post, there is plenty for other retailers to learn from Amazon's mobile commerce strategy


Argos has has apps and mobile sites for some time though, until recently, they were mainly used to drive its Check and Reserve service. 

A great idea, but the recent decision to add ecommerce to the site is a smart move. 

Also, given Google's recent announcements on the mobile user experience, it may want to reconsider this 'download app' pop-up: 


Next is a surprise. I think it had a mobile site previously, but seems to have ditched it. Or perhaps I imagined it... 

Either way, especially given the fact that it is the fourth site on the list, Next is missing a trick by not having a mobile site. 

This is what it looks like on a mobile browser. Not good in 2013: 

UPDATE: Next does have a mobile site at, though there isn't an auto-redirect for mobile visitors, which is what I was expecting. 


Tesco does have mobile sites and apps, which are very useful, though its checkout process could do with streamlining for the mobile user: 



Debenhams pursued a similar strategy to Amazon, with apps on various platforms as well as a mobile site. While you could argue that apps aren'r necessary when a retailer has a mobile (or responsive) site, these apps do things the mobile site can't, such as the barcode scanner. 

Debenhams also seems to understand the value of mobile (sites and apps) as part of the research process, and so has installed wi-fi in its stores to enable people to use mobiles, as well as targeting mobile users in stores with offers. 

Debenhams App-03 qr

Marks and Spencer

M&S is similar to Debenhams, in that it understands the use of mobile as a multichannel retailer, though it does have a few things to learn about QR.

According to recent research, M&S provides the best customer experience on mobile, while I'm impressed by its use of digital in its flagship Cheshire Oaks store.

The mobile site isn't without its flaws though. It still requires you to create an account before making a purchase, a big no-no on mobile.

It also forces you to enter the same information twice when registering an account and making a purchase. 



David Moth reviewed the updated ASOS site recently, and though the site is usable, it doesn't quite match the high standards of its desktop site.

Problems included inconsistent navigation and a lengthy checkout process. 


John Lewis

This is an excellent example of a mobile commerce site. One thing it does especially well is checkout. The process is fast and easy to use, while a guest checkput option is always a good idea:


New Look

This is generally a very good mobile site, but there are some serious flaws in the checkout process which are likely to impact on conversion rates. 

Full marks for adding PayPal, which does simplify the process for some, but these forms are very off-putting. 

For the average thumb, the size of the form fields and CTAs represent a challenge.

In summary

It's good that nine out ten of the retailers here have mobile commerce sites, though a common problem is the checkout. 

Mobile checkouts should be as smooth and brief as possible to encourage purchases, and many retailers are failing on this point with over-long forms, compulsory registration, and poor usability. 

As for Next, considering it is the fourth most visted UK retail site on mobile, the lack of an optimised site is staggering. 

Graham Charlton

Published 19 June, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (8)

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Mark Terry

When can we expect a mobile site or app for eConsultancy?

about 5 years ago

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

does the fact that Next doesn't have a mobile site indicate that either consumers aren't as choosey about optimisation or that this piece of research is flawed? either that or the mobile site has only just been removed.

about 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Mark - it's coming...

@Pete The research shows only that Next is the fourth most popular in traffic. You would assume that, with no mobile site, it may also have the highest bounce rates.

about 5 years ago


Karl Harris

I think Argos have missed the boat here, Apps are a limited investment. They will expire as internet improves and responsive design finds it form.

Web apps would serve equally as well as their phone anchored cousins, whilst bypassing the iPolice and making upgrades automatically available to all without requiring them to download the latest version.

M. websites had their time when mobile was growing through it's infancy. Now clearly into teens and getting attitude, well executed responsive design is more sustainable and profitable.

about 5 years ago

Stuart McMillan

Stuart McMillan, Deputy Head of Ecommerce at Schuh

Interesting article, thanks Graham, it's obvious that the mobile UX is still a neglected area, which is a shame given that it contributes c.30% of traffic.

It'll be interesting to watch how this list changes as more businesses adopt responsive design and have "one site to rule them all".

about 5 years ago



"Mobile now accounts for 20% of the UK online retail market, up from less than 1% in 2010. Mobile visits to online retail sites now account for almost one in three ecommerce site visits in the UK."

What is your source for that?

about 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Johannes those stats are from the IMRG / Experian research linked to in the opening paragraph.

almost 5 years ago


david duc, Co founder at magebay

Awesome post! do you like use off canvas checkout to simple checkout step on mobile devices ?. Example

over 3 years ago

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