Consumers in the U.K. are using mobile in full force, but retailers in the region have a lot of catching up to do.
A new study released by Barclays (with the research having been conducted by Conlumino) shows that U.K.-based consumers -- who currently spend $14.2 billion a year on mobile retail transactions -- are predicted to spend $78.7 billion annually on such purchases by 2024.
Meanwhile, according to the research, the impact of mobile in the U.K. is on pace to drive overall spending from $27 billion to $164.4 billion during the same time frame. This will mean that close to half (42.4 percent) of all retail sales in the region will involve, to some degree, a mobile device, proving mobile to be the fastest growing retail segment.
The study shows, however, that a majority of U.K. retailers are not presently prepared to take full advantage of such growth.
Although nearly half (46 percent) of retailers surveyed claim a portion of their sales are currently generated via mobile devices, less than 3 percent express complete confidence that their business is mobile ready. Furthermore, 70 percent of retailers report that they do not currently have in place a mobile website or offer a consumer-facing mobile app.
Asked if they had a clear plan of action to deal with the apparent lag in mobile adoption, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of retailers said that they do not. Among the minority of retailers that do profess to have a plan in place, developing a mobile website was cited as the top priority, followed by developing a mobile app and offering mobile payment options.
The Barclays study shows that retailers' primary reasons for hesitating when it comes to committed integration of mobile options are the cost and a lack of belief that mobile would generate new sales, as opposed to simply changing the source of existing ones.
Richard Lowe, Managing Director and Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays, apparently does not agree with U.K. retailers' hesitance, stating in the report that "retailers must cater for the mobile consumer in order to remain relevant."