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UK m-commerce is driven by tired nocturnal shoppers says PCA Predict

Published
today May 2, 2017
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UK online shoppers love to browse (and buy) using their smartphones and tablets in the early hours of the morning at the weekends, new data shows.


UK consumers are putting off going to bed so they can shop in the early hours on their phones



Consumers who are either going to bed very late, or perhaps going to bed earlier but hiding the light from their phones under the covers to avoid waking their significant other, are driving the highest volume of site traffic from mobile devices.

PCA Predict, which provides address verification for over 11,000 e-tail brands, looked at the hourly transaction volumes of its clients and found that the hour between 03:00 and 04:00 is the peak time for weekend mobile shopping, generating 61% of all mobile traffic to e-tail sites with the remaining five hours between midnight and 06:00 also being popular shopping times.

That’s significant because mobile traffic is so very high at the weekends and means that assumptions about what shoppers are doing and how they’re feeling when they buy online via their phones may have to change.

Mobile traffic overall is lower during the working week, although here too, early in the morning is a peak time. And ‘early’ doesn’t mean when shoppers are one their way to work and browsing via their phones. In fact, PCA said midnight to 02:00 and 04:00 to 06:00 account for 56% of all weekday web traffic.

While consumers’ always-on phones mean they can shop when they like during the day too, they’re more likely to shop via a regular computer during the daylight hours, presumably while at their desks.

So what does this all mean? PCA Predict’s COO Chris Harle said one side effect of the times consumers choose to shop is a lot of tired shoppers who won’t be patient and understanding if the shopping experience is less than perfect.
“Our research has huge implications for retailers,” he said. “With UK consumers shopping so early on their mobiles at weekends they are probably quite tired, meaning it’s more likely they’ll make a mistake when manually entering their delivery details from their smartphone.”

And small screens are likely to add to those mistakes. “Despite the huge popularity of mobile shopping among consumers, it still suffers from the issue of small screens making it sometimes quite challenging for people to input information correctly,” Harle added.

Importantly too, he said that consumers’ patience and concentration levels are probably low at such late (or early) hours, “meaning that if a mobile checkout experience isn’t perfect, it will likely cost retailers sales.”

The company actually did more research on that subject and found that almost half of consumers would abandon m-commerce purchases if the checkout process is too long.

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