Customer satisfaction with mobile commerce appears to be gradually improving year-on-year, to the extent that the m-commerce experience is almost considered to be on par with desktop.

The findings come from a survey by Foresee, which has been examining satisfaction scores from visitors to 40 of the largest UK mobile retail websites and apps in the UK since 2010.

It found that customer satisfaction with desktop websites in the UK scored 74 on the study’s 100-point scale, compared to 72 for mobile retail experiences.

The difference between the two channels has dropped steadily from five points to just two points in three years.

The findings obviously raise two possibilities – either shoppers are becoming more used to m-commerce so are naturally more satisfied with the experience, or retailers have adapted and improved the user experience.

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.