April 07, 2011

Results show that while U.S. retailers put an emphasis on developing mobile-optimized sites, their European counterparts are focusing on mobile apps.

Acquity Group, a world-leading multi-channel commerce and digital marketing company, announced today the results of its European Mobile Audit. While Acquity Group annually analyzes Internet Retailer’s Top 500 companies for mobile adoption, this is the 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 presence.

Acquity Group’s most recent U.S.-centric Mobile Audit showed that, in July of 2010, 12 of U.S. retailers had a mCommerce site, while 7 had a mobile app. Conversely, European retailers have largely focused on developing apps rather than mobile sites; 24.6 have a mobile app and 19.6 have a mCommerce site.

European retailers with a mobile application presence appear to heavily favor Apple’s iOS for application development.

“An overwhelming 71 of audited EU retailers had an iPhone app, whereas only 12 of companies had an Android app and 5 had a BlackBerry app,” said Joe Morrow, Acquity Group Manager of Front-End Development. “Based on the study, it appears the U.S. is about a year-and-a-half ahead in terms of overall smartphone adoption, specifically regarding the Android and BlackBerry platform. As more European consumers use these devices, however, we’ll see more development in the space.”

  United States1 Europe2
of top internet retailers with mCommerce site 12 19.6
of top internet retailers with mobile app 7 24.6

1 Acquity Group. Top 500 Retailer Mobile Audit, July 2010
2 Acquity Group, Topp 300 EU Retailer Mobile Audit, February 201

Tom Nawara, Vice President of Digital Strategy and Design at Acquity Group, said that a recent surge in Europe’s smartphone adoption might explain the difference in mobile strategy.

“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,” said Nawara. “U.S. brands, on the other hand, are focusing more on generating mobile-friendly versions of their site and driving transactions.”

Morrow said that when planning mobile initiatives, it’s important to consider prospects and customers and the context of what they’re trying to do on a mobile device.

“Businesses must define the reach of the experiences they hope to offer before launching a mobile strategy,” added Morrow. “For instance, a mobile web experience, as opposed to a mobile app, is generally accessible by a broader audience.”

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, which had a presence across a number of European locales.

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 of audited companies in each country having a mobile presence of some kind. Others coming in near the top include France (30 ), Italy (30 ), Germany (27 ), Turkey (26 ), Netherlands (21 ) and Portugal (21 ).

“While the U.S. is one fairly uniform market, each country in Europe tends to have its own restrictions and rules that make it more challenging for companies and developers trying to enter the mobile space in a multi-regional, multi-lingual way,” added Morrow. “The fragmentation across Europe emphasizes the importance for brands to have a clear approach to their mobile strategy.”

 All of Acquity Group's findings are pubished in Internet Retailer's Europe 300 Guide.

Acquity Group is a leading Brand eCommerce® and digital marketing company, now part of Accenture Interactive, a group within Accenture Digital that helps the world’s leading brands drive superior marketing performance across the full multichannel customer experience. Acquity Group leverages the Internet, mobile devices and social media to enhance its clients' brands and eCommerce performance. It is the digital agency of record for a number of well-known global brands in multiple industries. Acquity Group has served more than 600 companies and their global brands through twelve offices in North America. For more information about Accenture Interactive, visit accenture.com/interactive.