A lack of functionality and slow loading times are among the main usability issues with mobile sites, according to a new study.

Sites that aren’t optimised for mobile screens are also a lead cause of frustration, yet many businesses (yes, including Econsultancy) are still dragging their feet on launching a mobile site or moving to responsive design.

However more often than not mobile sites offer exactly the same features and functionality as desktop versions, it’s just scaled down for the smaller screen size.

Therefore it could be that consumers simply aren’t aware that the mobile web offers the same browsing experience as desktop, or that poorly designed mobile sites are giving people the impression that they offer limited functionality.

The Eptica survey of 1,000 UK consumers also found that just over half (52%) of consumers are dissatisfied with the mobile web experience in general.

For more information on this topic see our blog posts on 11 ways to improve the navigation on your mobile site and 16 gorgeous examples of mobile design inspiration.

The case for going mobile

Offering a poor user experience on mobile is a major problem for ecommerce sites at a time when traffic from mobile devices continues to grow.

Statistics included in the new Econsultancy/IBM Reducing Customer Struggle Report found that around three-quarters (72%) of responding companies said that mobile accounts for more than 10% of traffic, up from 52% in 2012.

The proportion of respondents who said that more than 20% of their traffic can be attributed to mobile has more than doubled in the last 12 months, from less than a fifth (17%) in 2012 to 41% this year.

How much of your total traffic is via mobile devices?

The report also examines how customers are interacting with businesses through mobile devices. A majority of companies (60%) stated that customers research products using mobile before later purchasing online, while 48% said that their customers actually make purchases through mobile devices.

How are you customers interacting with you via mobile devices?

Conversion rates on mobile always lag someway behind desktop sites, so it’s not surprising that product research is the main consumer activity.

This is likely caused by the fact that mobile checkouts are often difficult to use. We recently looked at the UX on the mobile sites of the UK’s top online retailers, and while they generally offered a decent browsing experience the checkout proved to be a common problem with overly long forms, compulsory registration, and poor usability.