4G take-up could boost online retail market by £1.8bn, says eBay

eBay claims 4G mobile connectivity could boost the UK mobile retail sector by £1.8bn in a year as more consumers shop on their smartphones

The introduction of a 4G network in the UK will bolster the retail sector as more people shop on their mobile phones.

This was the conclusion of a report from eBay that claimed the faster connections will lead to an upsurge of people buying goods on their smartphones and tablets. eBay predicts annual growth of 113%.

This increase could equate to as much as £1.8bn, according to the online retailer, as consumer frustrations with the speed and reliability on mobile devices recedes due to 4G technology.

“Consumers today want convenience and speed,” said Olivier Ropars, senior director of m-commerce at eBay Europe. 

“The arrival of universal 4G will bring with it a more immersive, instant and intimate shopping experience than ever before – putting the most exciting features of mobile retail as we know it into high definition.”

In a survey carried out by retail analysts Conlumino on behalf of eBay, 55% of consumers said they were using their mobiles to shop more than last year. Almost one third of adults in the UK use their mobiles for part of the shopping process, for example browsing, comparing prices and making a purchase.

Ropars said the opportunity this section of the public offered to retailers could not be ignored.

“4G won’t just turbo-charge the way we shop, it will truly give us the ability to shop anytime, anywhere,” he said. 

“That means an extra £1.8bn of consumer spending is up for grabs and retailers must act now and think about the virtual shop window to turn this huge opportunity into an exciting reality.”

The report comes on the same day Juniper Research said 4G uptake was set to rocket.

The research firm said adoption of the technology would more than double from 105 million users this year to 220 million in 2014, claiming the lack of 4G capabilities in mobile devices on the market in 2012 was the reason the technology had been held back.

However, as more 4G ready tablets and smartphones hit the shelves, revenues from the mobile connectivity will rocket, with Juniper predicting they will hit $340bn by 2017.

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