UK retailers experienced a surge in visits from mobile phones over the Christmas period, with traffic increasing by up to 100% between December 24 and 27. 

Various surveys before Christmas predicted a growth in the use of mobile for shopping, and early stats from Usablenet and Adfonic suggest that these were correct. 

According to these stats, Boxing day was the busiest time for mobile shopping as customers used phones to check prices, look for local stores, and make purchases, taking advantage of sales. 

Usablenet’s clients include John Lewis, ASOS, JD Sports, M&S, Next and Tesco, and its UK mobile sites experienced an average increase in traffic of 300% during the Christmas weekend. 

The top consumer activities via mobile were shopping and browsing for products, making a purchase, followed by checking store locations and tracking orders.

The most visited pages on mobile retail sites were product pages, search pages, My account sections, and store locator tools.

The top five devices used over Christmas were: 

  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Blackberry
  • Nokia
  • iPod

What can retailers learn from this? 

The obvious thing is for retailers to launch a mobile site or app to take advantage of this increase in mobile shopping. Here are ten good reasons to launch a mobile commerce site

The other is the importance of store locators in mobile sites and apps in retailers’ mobile offerings. They can be very useful for customers, but can also allow retailers to be very specific in targeting customers. 

This is one an area where apps have an advantage. Though some mobile browsers can detect a user’s location (Google Mobile for example), most mobile commerce sites don’t currently offer this, and users have to type in a postcode or location rather than have their location detected via GPS. 

Retailers should also ensure that customers can find the information they need via store finders. This includes details like store facilities, contact details and directions, but opening hours are also important, especially over the holiday period. 

Other Christmas mobile stats

Mobile advertising stats from Adfonic also suggest a peak in mobile use over Christmas. The most popular days were December 12, with had 400% increase in clicks on ads compare with the beginning of the month, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.

Adfonic counted a 24% increase in mobile activity on Boxing Day compared with December 12, and activity peaked between 9pm and 10pm. Adfonic puts this surge down to the increased use of smartphones for shopping. 

Hitwise stats for Christmas found that traffic peaked on Boxing Day, followed by December 27. Multichannel retailers were the biggest beneficiaries, receiving 123% more traffic on Boxing Day than online-only retailers.