Businesses need to be mobile friendly, Google says

Multi-coloured smartphone screen

Google data released today shows 2011 will be the biggest year yet for online retail, with a 29 percent increase in shopping related searches year-on-year – and retailers need to think mobile to meet consumer demands.

After a reported 220 percent rise in shopping searches from smartphones, Google suggests retailers mobilise to meet demand over Christmas.

In conjunction with IPSOS Research, Google has found Australia has the second highest smartphone ownership globally with 50 percent of adults owning a smartphone by the end of this year.

Google Australia’s head of retail Ross McDonald said most businesses haven’t noticed the change and are invisible to people trying to find them on mobiles if they don’t have mobile-friendly websites.

“If you asked a business owner whether she’d ignore every fourth customer to walk in her shop this Christmas season, the answer would certainly be no, but with 25 percent of Christmas shopping-related queries coming in on mobile, not having a mobile website is basically the same thing.”

The research shows that a simple mobile friendly website is the best place to start for business with 49 percent of those surveyed saying they had used a smartphone to research and call local business and 45 percent visiting a local businesses they have found using their phone.

Google data shows Christmas retail searches typically accelerate around November so it’s not too late for businesses to get mobile-friendly.

“The Christmas shopping season is a marathon that ends in a sprint. People make last minute decisions, which means we see consumers searching for gifts right up to Christmas Eve.”