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Londoners go mobile shopping on the Tube

Commuters on the London Underground are spending their time in the tunnels shopping on their mobile devices, says payments provider Pay by Bank

Londoners are using their daily commutes to shop on their mobile devices, according to research by payment provider Pay by Bank.

The study found 39% of passengers on the Tube are browsing and making purchases – with the Central Line proving the most popular for mobile e-commerce.

But despite 1.5 million commuters regularly shopping on the Tube, more than half of those who use the London Underground said they’d be more likely to shop during their commute if the Wi-Fi was more reliable.

Many voiced security concerns, stating they were not sure if their bank details would be safe if purchasing on a mobile phone on the train. Liam Spence, head of product for Pay by Bank, claimed retailers need to implement simpler online payments to tackle this.

Spence said: “Some commuters are on the Tube for two hours, so it makes sense to use this ‘dead time’ to shop.

"But getting out your credit or debit card and then keying in a long sequence of numbers on a packed Tube is not the ideal checkout experience – especially if you're using station Wi-Fi to quickly check out between stops or waiting for a train.”

Wi-Fi is now available at 250 of the London Underground’s tube stations and 61% of passengers spend their commute downloading digital content such as books, films and music, spending an average of £30.

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  • A three-year services contract will see mobile network operator O2 supply bespoke mobile services and devices to Transport for London.

Pay by Bank’s research noticed a trend in commuters buying food and experience-based products, with 57% purchasing takeaways on the Tube and 55% buying tickets for theatre shows.

Retailers are increasingly looking at providing a seamless omni-channel experience for customers, regardless of the channel they use.

Pay by Bank’s study showed 61% of commuters are using smartphones to buy clothes over the internet and 53% are ordering their food shopping. Some 24% of professionals using the Tube said online shopping is more convenient for them, as they can choose when items get delivered and where.

Transport for London has become the fastest growing contactless payment merchant in the UK after introducing contactless card payments for fares in 2014.

The transport firm has been investing in innovation in the space, and recently took part in a hackathon designed to create new travel-based services.

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