European Retail Goes Mobile; How Do Europe’s Top 300 Brands Stack Up?

mobile retail readinessWhat is the state of mobile retail readiness in Europe? How are Europe’s biggest retail brands extending their brand experience through mobile? What approaches are retailers taking to engage influence consumers throughout the purchase funnel (awareness, engagement, consideration, conversion and loyalty)?

Get the inside track by joining MobileGroove and Acquity Group executives this Wednesday (June 22) for Global Insight: European Retail Goes Mobile. The 30-minute online webinar (12-12:30 CST or click here to see the time in your region) will deep dive into the trends and mobile intelligence gleaned from Acquity’s first-ever European Mobile Audit of the top 300 European retail brands.

Webinar panel:

  • Tom Nawara, VP, Acquity Group
  • Joe Morrow, Manager – Mobile Practice, Acquity Group
  • Peggy Anne Salz, Chief Analyst, MobileGroove

Register here for the webinar:
Wednesday, June 22 @ 12:00 – 12:30 CST
or click here to see the time in your region

Mobile Audit findings

By way of background, Acquity Group, a multi-channel commerce and digital marketing company, annually analyzes Internet Retailer’s Top 500 companies for mobile adoption. This webinar covers the top level findings of Acquity’s first-ever European Mobile Audit.

After a thorough evaluation of 300 leading European online retailers, which also included global brands such as Amazon and Apple, Acquity Group found that roughly two-thirds of European retailers have no mobile Web presence.

Interestingly, European retailers have so far focused on developing apps rather than mobile sites. The audit shows that 24.6 percent of the top 300 retailers  have a mobile app. European retailers with a mobile application presence appear to heavily favor Apple’s iOS for application development.

Specifically, a whopping 71 percent of audited retailers had an iPhone app. Android came in a distant second with 12 percent, and 5 percent of retailers had a BlackBerry app.

mobile retail comparison chart
1 Acquity Group, Top 500 Retailer Mobile Audit, July 2010
2 Acquity Group, Top 300 EU Retailer Mobile Audit, February 2011

Apps dominate Europe (for now)

In general, fewer European retailers have mobile commerce sites, but more of them have mobile applications. Tom Nawara reckons the rise of smartphones over the last year has moved more retailers to focus on launching mobile apps. (And let’s not forget the fast-follower movement sweeping across Europe to close the gap with the U.S., primarily led by tech-savvy CMOs and agency execs, many of whom equate an iPhone app with having a mobile strategy.)

As Nawara put it in a recent press statement: “Smartphone adoption in Europe is up dramatically from just last year, with one in three consumers now owning a smartphone. European retailers appear to be capitalizing on this and, in particular, on the caché of the iPhone, by creating apps to promote brand awareness. U.S. brands, on the other hand, are focusing more on generating mobile-friendly versions of their site and driving transactions.”

However, this could change in the next months as retailers focus on finding a balance between brand awareness (best delivered by apps)  and transactions (best supported by mobile websites). After all, as I have written before, limiting your mobile presence to an iPhone app is like restricting access to your store  according to the make and model cars your customers drive. It makes no business sense.

Who is succeeding with mobile in Europe?

Companies that had a strong mobile presence in Europe were typically large U.S. brands like Amazon, Hewlett-Packard and Apple. On a country-level, Spain and the U.K. appear to be doing the best in terms of mobile adoption by Internet retailers, with 44 percent of audited companies in each country having a mobile presence of some kind. Others coming in near the top include: France (30 percent), Italy (30 percent), Germany (27 percent), Turkey (26 percent), Netherlands (21 percent) and Portugal (21 percent).

The bottom line:

The fragmentation across Europe emphasizes the importance for brands to have a clear approach to their mobile strategy.

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internet retailerEditor’s note: All of Acquity Group’s findings are published in Internet Retailer’s Europe 300 Guide.

Collectively, Europe is a bigger online retailing market than even the U.S., but most sales are local and consumers prefer shopping online in their home country. To identify the major web retail players in each diverse market and across the continent, Internet Retailer introduces the Top 300 Europe, the first ever comprehensive ranking of the 300 largest European retail web sites. Each listing is packed with financial and operational data.

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