4G drives surge in mobile retail


Nearly 40% of 4GEE users plan to Christmas shop on a smartphone or tablet this year, up from 15% last Christmas

UK 4G provider, EE, has stated that 4G is increasing the number of mobile shoppers this Christmas as faster mobile internet speeds encourage people to shop for gifts from their mobile devices.

Retailers with quality mobile apps and websites optimised for mobile users are set to be the big winners, according to EE's second 4GEE Mobile Living Index. Christmas shopping on mobile is set to nearly triple, with 39% of EE 4G customers saying they will buy their gifts on their smartphone or tablet this year, up from 15% on 3G last year.

EE 4G users say that fashion, entertainment, electronics and books are their most common mobile purchases, with eBay and Amazon cited as the most popular online shopping destinations.

The study also revealed that 8.30am and 5.30pm are the busiest times for mobile shopping, as people combine their journeys to and from work with some serious retail therapy. Spend is also steadily increasing; of the men that shop on mobile, over one third (35%) say they spent more than £100 in the last month alone and a fifth spent more than £200. Altogether, 15% of women spent more than £200, almost double the figure from July's report.

Pippa Dunn, chief consumer marketing officer at EE, said: 'When we look at this year's Christmas shopping figures in the EE Mobile Living Index, the effect of 4G couldn't be clearer. People are now buying their Christmas gifts on the move, without having to queue in shops. They are following their favourite team even when they can't be in front of the TV. And they're doing their online banking on their daily commute, while listening to music and searching the web. 4G is enabling people to shop, share and browse with a new level of flexibility and freedom.'

Customers are sharing and streaming more on 4G than ever before. One in four people (24%) uses social media at least ten times per day and over a third (36%) are streaming more video than they did on 3G, with large peaks in traffic during key events such as on Halloween and live football matches.

EE network analysis reveals 4G customers use 28% more data on social media than 3G users, with Facebook, YouTube and Instagram using the most data over 4G. Music streaming services are benefitting from 4G; Deezer (13th) and Spotify (20th) appear in the top 20 most popular applications on 4G, but neither make the top 20 over 3G.

Web browsing and email (40%), video (22%), social media (18%) and music (8%) are top of the list in terms of 4G traffic. More specifically, the top five applications in terms of volume of 4GEE data are: web browsers; Facebook; YouTube; Instagram; and video calls.

Finally, smartphones and tablets are quickly making traditional forms of communication obsolete. A huge 80% of 4G EE customers have not used a phone box for five or more years, while a quarter of all 4G EE customers, and nearly half (44%) of 18 to 24 year old customers, have never stepped inside a phone box. Nearly one in five (18%) have never used a home telephone as people become ever more reliant on their mobiles for voice calls, as well as data.

More than 1.2 million people are now subscribed to EE's 4G services, almost double the number of 4G customers since August 2013 (687,000). The EE 4G customer demographic is expanding, with nearly a third of  users now over 45, versus 25% at launch. The male to female split remains stable, with 42% of EE 4G customers women.

The 4G EE Mobile Living Index combines statistics from EE's 4G mobile network with an indepth survey of 4GEE customers.


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