- Zapp / Cebr data reveals smartphone and tablet adoption is fuelling a boom in ‘commuter commerce’
- Britain’s five million commuters using public transport spend £9.3 billion a year via smartphones and tablets, representing 22% of total UK online retail sales
- The average commuter spends £36 a week, rising to £44 for those commuting to and within London
- The introduction of an easier and safer payment method could further boost spending by £1.56 billion a year
Over a fifth of all UK online shopping sales now take place during people’s daily commutes, according to new data released by Zapp and the Cebr (Centre for Economics and Business Research).
‘Commuter Commerce’ now accounts for £9.3 bn each year, as consumers take advantage of faster mobile browsing speeds, and the increasing availability of WIFI on public transport, to shop between stops on their smartphones and tablets.
Each commuter spends £36/week on average, rising to £44/week for London commuters. Overall, the amount spent by commuters in the capital accounts for nearly two-thirds (£5.9 billion) of the total spend.
Clothing tops the shopping lists of most commuters: almost three quarters of Brits (71%) commuting via public transport report that they purchase clothing online during their commute on an average week.
Entertainment media are the next two most popular items, with 68% paying for digital downloads during their commute on an average week, and 65% spending on other entertainment media (such as DVDs, CDs, books etc.). Groceries (62%) and takeaways (60%) also featured highly.
The most popular reason for shopping online while commuting is ‘just to pass the time’, followed by it being the most convenient time to shop. Many busy professionals are also taking advantage of ‘click and collect’ services, which allow them to pick up their goods later.
The peak morning rush (from 7am until 9am) sees the biggest spike in shopping, when 1.5 million commuters are estimated to be shopping. If you got on the 7:32 from Brighton to London this morning, it is likely that almost a third of your train would have been using their mobile device to shop.
The Cebr report concludes that quicker and safer ways to pay could persuade 730,000 people to shop online during commute for their first time, helping boost overall spending by £1.5 billion annually and tipping the national total over £10 billion.
Commenting on the research findings, Peter Keenan, CEO of Zapp said, “From doing the weekly shop to buying tickets for a gig, commuters are becoming increasingly comfortable with shopping on their mobile devices wherever they are. But fishing out your credit or debit card and then tapping in a long sequence of numbers does not represent the ideal checkout experience on a packed train. If commuter commerce is to continue to flourish we need faster, safer mobile payment methods.”
Rob Harbron, Managing Economist commented, “People in Britain spend more online per head than any other nation, and it seems our love affair with online shopping now also extends to the morning rush hour. The data shows that commuter commerce is booming in the UK as savvy commuters use their time efficiently to make the purchases they just don’t have time for normally. We estimate that making the mobile checkout experience faster and safer could boost spending by £30m each week.”
Later this year, Zapp is launching ‘Pay by Bank app’, which lets consumers make instant mobile payments to retailers directly from a bank app. Banks that have already announced their support for Pay by Bank app include HSBC, first direct, Nationwide, Santander and Metro Bank. Zapp is also being supported by some of the UK’s biggest retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Asda, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook and Shop Direct.