Businesses that sell goods online have been urged to make sure their website is optimised for smartphones and tablets.

According to PayPal UK, mobile web browsing overtook desktop for the first time in 2016, while people are increasingly using their handsets to access online shopping platforms.

Figures from PayPal UK indicate that 30 per cent of Britons expect to use their smartphones to shop more frequently over the coming year.

This trend looks set to be particularly strong among younger adults, with 44 per cent of 16 to 25-year-olds predicting a surge in their mobile shopping activity.

PayPal UK stressed that the growth in mobile shopping is four times greater than that in the overall online shopping market.

However, it is concerned that many businesses could be missing out on the chance to cash in, as their websites don’t render well on smartphones and tablet screens.

Indeed, it pointed out that just 18 per cent of small businesses in the UK have a mobile-friendly website, despite the estimated annual spend on mobile going up from £13.5 billion to £27 billion in the last year.

Nicola Longfield, Director of Small Business at PayPal UK, commented: “It is more important than ever that businesses adapt. Bridging the gap between customer expectation and what businesses are offering need not be daunting. Shoppers are increasingly frustrated by websites which require them to pinch the screen to zoom in and scroll endlessly.”

Ms Longfield went on to state that the profile of a typical UK mobile shopper is very similar to that of an online shopper, which means firms only need to fine-tune business practices to make the most of customers’ habits.

“This could be sharing promotions on customers’ favourite social channels, scheduling marketing emails to coincide with peak mobile shopping times, or simply offering recognisable payment options to give shoppers that extra confidence in their purchases,” she added.

PayPal finds ‘UK SMEs ignore the huge success of the smartphone’ Bdaily