Ve Data Reveals UK Retailers Finally Reaching ‘Always-on Shoppers’ in the Run up to Christmas

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  • Ve Data Reveals UK Retailers Finally Reaching ‘Always-on Shoppers’ in the Run up to Christmas
  • Smartphone sales up 44% in lead up to the Christmas shopping season compared to 2017, with Ve predicting mobile sales will count for over half of all online purchases over the Black Friday weekend. Desktop and tablet sales dip substantially as m-commerce tightens grip.
  • Ve CEO David Marrinan-Hayes believes the increase in mobile shopping provides UK retailers with a unique opportunity to engage the ‘always-on customer’ - a demographic who carry and check mobile devices regularly.


The proportion of Britons using their smartphones to make purchases online during the lead up to Christmas is up a massive 44% compared to last year, according to the latest Ve Global (Ve) consumer behaviour data, with predictions that mobile sales will rise to over 50% during the Black Friday weekend – the unofficial start of the festive shopping period.

The learnings are taken from a study examining 50 million online browser sessions across 3,000 retail websites, during the third quarter (1 July – 30 September) of 2017 and the same period this year.

Martech company Ve, which develops eCommerce technologies for retailers such as Clare’s Accessories and The Body Shop, found that the growth in sales is followed by a further 6% increase in browsing via a smartphone. This places mobile as the dominant channel for browsing in the UK - registering more sessions (53%) than desktop PCs and tablets combined.

The analysis also revealed a significant reduction in mobile “bounce” rates – where users would often leave a website almost immediately after arriving – which are down 10% on 2017.

Ve CEO David Marrinan-Hayes, said:

“Ve’s data indicates that UK retailers are beginning to meet the mobile-first expectations of the modern online shopper and in good time, given the continued demise of the desktop PC and even the tablet – all of which are fading towards irrelevance as the mobile experience improves.”

“This bodes very well for brands in the run-up to Black Friday and the whole of the crucial ‘Golden Quarter’, as they look to capitalise on the annual pre-December rush. It also presents marketers with an opportunity to engage the always-on customer; a key demographic who carry and regularly check their mobile devices.”

“The main challenge for brands is to develop and deploy mobile experiences that are relevant and bring value to each potential customer. Done correctly, personalised messages and content delivered direct-to-mobile via SMS or Web Push Notifications, can be welcome interruptions and lead a customer into making a purchase.”

Ve is expecting a further uptick in mobile sales during the Black Friday weekend which is generally regarded as the start of the Christmas shopping season. Last year 36% of UK retail purchases over the Black Friday weekend occurred via a smartphone, up 12% on the Q3 average. An equivalent increase this year would put the mobile share of online sales at an unprecedented 52%.

In contrast to the popularity of mobile shopping, sales made via desktop PCs have dipped below 50% for the first time, with purchases on tablet devices slipping by 5% compared to last.

Marrinan-Hayes believes brands must build campaigns that interact with individuals in a uniquely personalised way if they hope to retain customers using those channels:

“By no means is the desktop or tablet experience dead in the eyes of consumers. However, greater efforts need to be made by UK retailers if they hope to capture the attention of consumers in a mobile-first environment.”

“This means investing in greater levels of personalisation and delivering onsite experiences that are contextually relevant to each user. At Ve, we’re working closely with a number of UK retailers to understand their users more and develop experiences that are tailored for them, from product discovery through to an eventual purchase, and beyond.”

Ve will be delivering online consumer data insights and expert commentary on trends emerging during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and those key dates throughout November, December and early January, otherwise known as ‘The Golden Quarter’. You can sign up for updates, here:


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Media contact

Danny Bartlett, International Head of Communications | +44 (0) 7737315081

About Ve Global (Ve)

Ve exists to inspire our client’s customers throughout their online journey, regardless of business size or sector. Founded in 2009, Ve started life developing basket recovery email technology. But that was just the beginning. Our appetite to predict and respond to consumer behaviour in the digital age led us to develop award-winning technologies, that attract the right audience, with the right message at the right time.

Today, we serve 5,000 clients across 18 territories, with our consumer-first solutions ensuring every customer enjoys the tailored and intuitive online experience they deserve. | @Ve_HeadQuarters