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A new study by Ebay is predicting that the arrival of universal 4G in the UK could boost the retail economy by around £1.8 billion over a year. The boost represents a 113% year on year uplift in mobile shopping compared to 2012.

The study of over 2,000 UK consumers found that the opportunity is being driven by changing consumer behaviour, with 55% of consumers using their devices more for shopping now than this time last year. While the research found that just under a third of all UK adults use a smartphone for some aspect of their shopping journey, around one in ten use a smartphone for making purchases.

The study, compiled for the online marketplace by retail analysts Conlumino, reveals that the major frustrations for UK mobile shoppers are speed (50.3%) and reliability (49.6%). With the arrival of universal 4G predicted to  help to break down barriers and increase consumers’ likelihood to shop via their smartphones or tablets, Ebay is calling on retailers to get their businesses 4G ready.

“Consumers today want convenience and speed. The arrival of universal 4G will bring with it a more immersive, instant and intimate shopping experience than ever before – putting the most exciting features of mobile retail as we know it into high definition. It won’t just turbo-charge the way we shop. It will truly give us the ability to shop anytime, anywhere. That means an extra £1.8 billion of consumer spending up for grabs. Retailers must act now and think about the virtual shop window, to turn this huge opportunity into an exciting reality.”

Olivier RoparsSenior director of m-commerce, Ebay Europe

“Retailers today must take every chance to engage consumers, inspiring them and giving them every possible opportunity to buy and interact with their brands. An omni-channel approach is key to making this happen and with universal 4G on the horizon, retailers can’t afford to stand still.”

Neil SaundersDirector, Conlumino