Retailers in the UK are missing out on at least £1.3 billion in sales due to poor mobile broadband coverage, a survey carried out by Verdict Research on behalf of eBay has found.

The rise of smart phones has seen an increase in the popularity of m-commerce as a shopping method and this looks set to continue, but eBay have warned that more than one third of consumers surveyed have failed to complete a purchase online due to unreliable connections.

With large parts of the UK, including the Scottish Highlands and rural Wales,  areas where mobile spending is at least 20% below the national average, eBay is urging mobile industry regulators to improve mobile broadband coverage across the UK.

In its submission to Ofcom, the online marketplace said it wants policy makers to address consumer frustrations when rules for 4G mobile networks are confirmed later this year.

Angus McCarey, UK Retail Director, eBay UK, said: “Mobile shopping represents a massive opportunity not just for retailers, but for the economy as a whole.

“But our research shows that consumers and retailers are missing out as the cost and reliability of mobile broadband prevents shoppers from spending.

“High quality and reliable mobile broadband coverage throughout the UK has to be our ambition, giving consumers choice over when and how they shop, encouraging spending, thereby benefiting online and high street retail, and giving a much needed boost to the fragile economic recovery.”

The study also predicted that mobile shopping could deliver a £4.5bn boost to Britain’s economy by 2016, adding a further £13bn by 2021.

Neil Saunders, Consulting Director at Verdict Research, commented: “With the increasing proliferation of smartphones, more and more consumers want to make the most of the convenience of being able to shop on the move.

“Retailers need to move fast to optimise their websites and capture this growing market.”

Please note the views expressed in this blog are the views of the author, Andre Brown and do not represent the view of Locayta, its employees or its shareholders. For more information about Locayta, visit www.locayta.com