Mobile Shopping and Social Media on the Rise with 4G

Some time ago we looked at the 4GEE Mobile Living Index, published in August 2013, to get an idea of how switching to 4G has impacted consumer behaviour. Well EE has now published its Christmas 2013 edition of the report, and as they currently have twice as many 4G customers as they did when they compiled the first report, it should provide some valuable insights into the effect of 4G. Here are three key trends identified by the report.

Mobile Commerce with 4G

Trend 1: Mobile commerce is increasing

There has been a marked increase in online shopping using a mobile device since the last 4GEE Mobile Living Index. In August 19% of 4G users said they had done more mobile shopping since switching to 4G, and that figure has now risen to 23%. 66% of 4G users now shop using a mobile device, and they are making higher value purchases. Although men still spend more via mobile than women, the gap is closing. The most popular items to purchase using 4G mobile internet are fashion items, eBay or auction items, Amazon products, gifts, food and groceries, and CDs or DVDs.

Given the season, the 4GEE Mobile Living Index also looked at the prevalence of Christmas shopping using a 4G mobile device. When asked if they had used their mobile for Christmas shopping in 2012 only 15% of 4G users said yes. When asked whether they planning to use it for Christmas shopping in 2013 a whopping 39% said yes. 4G users are three times as likely as 3G users to do Christmas shopping using their mobile, and even pensioners are joining in with 13% of 4G users that are over 65 planning to do some Christmas shopping on their mobiles.

The increase in the use of mobile internet for online shopping illustrates an increase in trust, and a belief that mobile networks are secure. This is also shown by the fact that more people are using 4G internet for online banking via a mobile device. In August 20% of 4G users said they had done more online banking on their mobile since switching to 4G, and this figure has now risen to 25%.

Trend 2: Social media via 4G is thriving

EE reports that it has seen a big increase in the amount of data being used for social media, and social media sites now account for 18% of its overall network traffic, up from 13% in August. Interestingly the number of times that users are visiting social media sites each day hasn’t really changed so the increase in data traffic implies that users have changed their behaviour whilst visiting social media sites, perhaps sharing more photos and streaming more video with their 4G devices.

Mobile apps from Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter are all in the top ten apps by volume of data for EE’s 4G users. Social media use has seasonal variations and EE saw a peak in Instagram traffic at around 9pm on Halloween as parents found a minute after bedtime to post pictures of their children in costume, and Halloween partygoers began to post their own images.

Trend 3: Professionals are using 4G to work on the move

4G is a powerful tool for staying connected whilst on the move and many professionals are using their 4G devices to keep up with work when they are out of the office. Of the 4G users surveyed, 40% reported that they used their 4G device for work every day, generally for keeping up with e-mails.

The ability to check and reply to e-mail on the way to work allows users to start their work day early and to be up to speed when they arrive.  Around 18% of users said they worked or checked work e-mail on the morning commute. Those that aren’t actually using their 4G device for work purposes, may still be making the most of it on the commute to and from the office. Web browsing and streaming music are both popular commuter activities.

Overall we are starting to see the use of 4G mobile devices becoming an accepted and normal part of everyday life. Shopping, banking, keeping in touch with friends and family, sharing images and videos, working, and entertainment on the move are all being impacted by the switch to 4G, with users now able to perform all these actions anytime and anywhere.