Just 23% of UK businesses have optimised their sites for the mobile web, meaning that the vast majority are losing out on the growing number of consumers using devices such as smartphone and tablets to browse the web and make purchases, according to Google's director of mobile and social advertising strategy, Ian Carrington. Speaking at Internet World in London, Carrington says that the 77% of companies that don't have mobile sites are effectively "shutting their business" one working day a week, as they miss out on prospective customers searching for goods and products on mobile. He claims that the number of queries coming to Google search via mobile is on the rise, with mobile accounting for 19% of all travel and entertainment queries and 15% of retail searches, with companies needing to make sure their site is optimised for this traffic if they want to generate the maximum possible revenues from their business.
"The 23% of businesses in the UK that have mobile websites understand what consumers want," he says. "But 77% of business don't. And those 77% are effectively shutting their business every Tuesday, because if you haven't got an optimised site you are missing all those mobile queries. 19% of travel queries happen on mobile and essentially for those 19% of queries you are saying ‘no, we don't want your business'."
Google's research is in line with a previous study by EPiServer, which found in January that just 20% of UK businesses had a mobile website. While the figures suggest that the number is on the rise, it appears that the vast majority of UK companies are losing out on valuable traffic and revenues by not embracing the shift to mobile. Separate research from mobile website builder Mobi UK found that businesses without mobile sites lose an average of GBP5m (USD8m) in profits every year as growing numbers shop on smartphones and tablets. Carrington claims that 28% of UK consumers have bought something on a smartphone, with purchases ranging from those worth just a few pounds, to Ferraris, with eBay claiming that it sells an average of three every month via mobile.
Google's Android mobile OS is the largest globally, and the firm is targeting mobile revenues as growth in its core search business slows. Google is so keen for companies to make the shift to mobile that it has launched its own service, GetMo, which helps businesses understand what their websites look like on mobile, provides a marketplace to help build mobile websites and offers Mobilize, which lets firms build simple mobile pages for free. Carrington says that Google sees the mobile web, rather than apps, as the area in which most companies should focus because it helps to bring in new users, as well as dealing with issues of fragmentation across not only Android, but the range of mobile platforms available.
"We encourage people to build web-based apps that any smartphone with a browser can use," he says. "People used to just build apps for the iPhone because it was seen as the latest, greatest and coolest thing to do. Apps are great for engagement and retention, but the mobile web ensures your business is available to everyone all the time."
Carrington is also bullish on the outlook for the mobile payments space, claiming that within the next 10 years mobile phones could replace most consumers' wallets, particularly in emerging countries where consumers don't have bank accounts. However, he cautions that there is still a long way to go, with just 100m NFC-enabled phones sold, and most businesses still looking into whether to include the technology in their stores.
|22 May 13|
|22 May 13|
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|21 May 13|