In truth it’s probably a mixture of the two, but the end result is that businesses without a mobile commerce platform of some sort are potentially missing out on a growing segment of customers that could otherwise make purchases and recommendations.

That said, the research also underlines the fact that a vast majority of online shopping is carried out using a desktop computer. Most consumers (87%) use a home computer to shop online, although one in five use a smartphone (12%) or a tablet (9%).

Foresee’s survey also asked respondents how they use their mobile phone in-store. While 40% of people admitted to ‘showrooming’, a majority of this group (74%) said that they use their phone to access the store’s own website.

In comparison only 34% said they accessed a competitor’s website, which lends weight to the argument that retailers should be making it easier for shoppers to access the internet while in-store, potentially by offering free Wi-Fi.

Foresee’s survey roughly tallies with data from previous studies into showrooming. Our Christmas 2012 Online Shopping Survey found that one in five (21%) of UK respondents admitted to using their phone in-store.

While this is lower than the 40% stated in Foresee’s data, it needs to be noted that our question was asked to all respondents, so including those who don’t own a smartphone, while Foresee only asked smartphone owners.

Finally, the data also highlights the fact that mobile platforms are primarily used for research rather than actually making a purchase.

The most popular activity is to look up price information about a product (51%), followed by comparing different products (32%) and looking up product specifications. In comparison just 14% said that they used mobile sites or apps to make a purchase.