By Daniel Hunter

Almost two-thirds of smartphone and tablet users access websites on a daily basis and over a half shop via their mobile device at least once a week, according to new research from e-commerce and digital marketing solutions provider EPiServer. However, the mobile e-commerce experience is falling short of expectations, with half of shoppers confirming they often encounter problems.

The survey of 1,000 UK smartphone and tablet owners shows the biggest bugbear for shoppers using mobile sites is speed, cited as a frustration by 49%.

However there are many issues impacting the mobile experience unrelated to loading speeds. These include having to navigate both horizontally and vertically to view the page (48%), difficulty logging in (37%), and links that are too small (35%). One in five smartphone and tablet users said they can’t easily complete transactions on a mobile device.

The study suggests that retailers risk losing significant business by not meeting these mobile expectations, with 54% of consumers leaving the mobile site when they run into difficulty and over a quarter (28%) turning to a competitor.

The study also shows that using a tablet or smartphone is not necessarily a ‘mobile’ experience. The most popular place to browse the web on a tablet is the home, cited by 80%, compared to 12% on public transport and 10% on the high street.

Similarly, the majority of smartphone users access the web at home (62%), although they are more active than tablet users when out and about, with 33% using the web on public transport, 25% on the high street and 14% in the car.

“Our research shows that mobile devices are becoming the first choice for accessing a website or app, regardless of location," David Bowen, Product Manager, EPiServer, commented.

"As a result, the mobile experience becomes critical to any business’s web strategy, as today’s mobile-savvy consumer becomes less forgiving and expects mobile sites and apps to offer all the functionality they are used to on a desktop. ‘Mobile first’ is rapidly becoming the most sensible strategy for any e-commerce business.”

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