While 73% of consumers now access websites using their mobile devices, only 20% of companies have a mobile-optimised site, according to research from EPiServer, which also found that, while two thirds of consumers had used a mobile app in the past twelve months, only 18% of companies offer them.
From the consumer's perspective, the study found that almost half (49%) of British consumers are experiencing frustration with mobile websites. More encouragingly however, marketers are at least beginning to plan for the mobile channel, with 76% saying they currently have a mobile strategy in place, and 26% expecting to launch a mobile-optimised site within the next coming months.
The study, entitled 'Developing a mobile strategy: How to deliver mobile sites that truly engage', examined the opinions of more than 200 UK senior marketing executives and over 1,000 consumers, aiming to provide an overview and reveal specific insights into how online marketers are handling the challenge of the fast-growing mobile channel.
Consumer adoption of mobile devices was found to be soaring, with 73% of consumers accessing websites on mobile devices, and two thirds having used a mobile app in the past year. However, nearly one in three respondents (32%) said they find mobile websites hard to navigate, while 35% said that if a mobile website is hard to use they'll abandon it. Specifically, 15% said they had already stopped using a mobile website because it was difficult to navigate, and 14% said they rarely feel like the mobile version of a website meets their expectations.
Almost half (49%) of consumers said they find mobile sites slow, while 35% found logins difficult and a further 35% said mobile sites are often missing important functionality. Perhaps most worryingly, almost one fifth (19%) said they had struggled to find specific content that they were looking for. One quarter of consumers said they would try a competitor if the mobile website they were trying to access was not working, while 64% said they would give a mobile website an average of three chances to work before moving on.
According to Maria Wasing, vice president of marketing for EPiServer, "It is unfortunate to see that consumer expectations are not always being met. The study clearly highlighted the increasing importance of an effective mobile strategy in order to attract new customers and to effectively serve existing ones. The number of consumers carrying an internet-enabled device with them at all times is increasing rapidly and, by thinking about the best approach for a brand now, marketers can make the most of the growing mobile opportunity."
But consumers were not alone in the frustrations they experience when it comes to mobile websites and apps. Marketers reported numerous barriers to developing coherent strategies, including a lack of technology (24%), a lack of budget (23%), and the difficulty of proving mobile's ROI (7%). "But rather than attempting to do everything at once, there are actually many simple solutions to help marketers quickly improve their mobile websites and make them more appropriate for mobile access. Then the strategy can then be refined over time," concluded Wasing.
The full study results have been made available for free download from EPiServer's web site - click here (free registration required).