Social media is driving a surge in mobile spending, with five per cent of Britons now buying something on their phones every day

Francesca Washtell
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Heavy social media users were the most likely to also spend big on their mobiles (Source: Getty)

Britain is a nation of social media-driven mobile phone shoppers, according to a study released today.

Five per cent of the UK's population, or 2.5m people, are buying products or services on their phones everyday, while twice as many between the ages of 18 and 34 (10 per cent) are making daily purchases on their mobiles.

Social connections, convenience and greater emotional ties between brands and consumers were all found to be fuelling the rise in mobile shopping.

In particular, heavy social media usage is going hand-in-hand with daily buying, with frequently-connected Britons the most likely to be buying products every day, according to the survey of more than 2,000 people conducted by ICM for performance marketing technology firm Criteo.

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This has been dubbed "Copycart shopping", where a social media user will see an item on an app such as Instagram or Facebook and seek to buy the same or a similar item soon after. The biggest mobile buyers are heavy Snapchat and Instagram users, with 64 per cent of daily Snapchat users having made a mobile purchase and more than half of Instagram users.

Clothing has become the premier purchase on mobile. Almost a quarter of the UK population (23 per cent) say they have bought clothes on mobile, followed by music and film (16 per cent), and health and beauty products (14 per cent).

Daily Instagram users were found to be 113 per cent more likely to buy clothes on mobile than the average Briton, while 35 per cent of daily Facebook users have bought on mobile, compared to 17 per cent of non-Facebook users.

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Despite the freedom and flexibility that buying on mobile provides, the most common places where Britons were buying on their mobile were still in the home. A third of UK consumers made mobile purchases in front of the TV, while 27 per cent bought themselves something new while they were in bed at night.

"Smartphones have transformed the retail industry in the UK, Jason Morse, vice president, mobile products at Criteo, said. "Our mobile is always by our side, meaning it is the one consistent factor in all elements of the online and offline shopping experience today.

"We can now see that shopping on mobile is becoming a daily routine for large sections of the population, suggesting that smartphones are creating greater emotional ties behind consumer and brand. In addition, these findings show that browsing Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest in front of the TV at night is driving the growth of mobile commerce, just as much as mobile’s innate portability.”

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