UK apps lag behind US in smartphone purchases


Only 22% of UK smartphones users have attempted purchases on their smartphones versus 60% in the US

The UK mobile app marketplace has been severely hindered by consumers' reluctance to try mobile payments and the difficulty of building card payments into new apps.

New research shows that despite a 57% growth in the number of mobile apps requiring card payments in the past year, consumer attempts to make purchases with their smartphones in the UK remains significantly lower than those in the US.

Many of those who do try to buy on their smartphones fail in completing their purchase due to the complexity of payment transactions, according to a study from judo payments, a UK card payment provider for mobile commerce.

The survey shows that approximately seven million UK adults, or one in seven people have purchased goods or services via smartphones. Yet a quarter of those who have made purchases on their phone (1.7 million people) have had transactions fail, and around 1.3 million people have seen transactions fail on multiple occasions.

Around 23.7 million UK smartphone card transactions have failed, representing significant lost revenue for developers and vendors.

Among the 1.7 million Britons who suffered failed purchases, around half (48%) said that transactions failed to go through, while 38% of respondents said entering debit and credit card details was too difficult and 35% said the checkout process was too difficult. When faced with an unsuccessful transaction, 11% of respondents decided to postpone their purchase and a further 9% decided against buying completely.

The study echoes findings from research undertaken in the US by Harris Interactive in March 2013, which found that difficult checkout (41%) and too hard to enter credit/debit card information (51%) were the most common reasons for failed purchases on mobile apps.

However, far more smartphone users had attempted to make a purchase in the US than those in the UK-which highlights a greater willingness by Americans to embrace new payment trends. Harris Interactive confirmed that over 60% of smartphone users attempted to make purchases in America. In contrast, Judo's research reveals only 22% of UK smartphone owners tried to buy on their phones.

Dennis Jones, CEO of judo, said: 'One of the engines for economic recovery and growth in the UK is the smart development of apps for smartphones. UK smartphone penetration is set to double by 2016, creating a huge market for developers. However, the majority of users are not even attempting to make purchases using their smartphones, while those who do try find it too difficult. The apps vendors we spoke to report that if the process of integrating purchases with apps was easier, they would build 64% more apps with a payment capability.'

Apps vendors estimate that building payments into an app has typically taken 22 hours using existing payment technologies. Those already using judo's payment engine report for mobile purchases report that the process takes less than one hour.

Jones added: 'The only main challenge for the UK's app market now is convincing smartphone users to follow America's lead in attempting to make mobile transactions in the first place.'


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