Kinetic Research: The Rise of the Mobile Spender

As people return to the commute, high street, and shopping malls, new research from leading Out of Home advertising agency, Kinetic suggests that audiences are happier than ever making purchases using mobile devices when they are on the go.

Even in a year hit by Covid restrictions, British adults splashed £179 billion on mobile devices (m-commerce) in 2021 – representing more than half of all online spending.

  • Brits spend billions on mobile phones and tablets while commuting and shopping in 2021
  • Clothes and groceries were the most popular out of home purchase – accounting for 1/3 of all mobile spending
  • Mobile shopping more popular among younger commuters – yet the over 55s still spend an average of £64 per week on average

Clothes were the highest-value category with fashion-conscious Britons using mobile devices to spend £30 billion on clothing while they were out and about. Food was also very much on our minds while we are on the move with grocery shopping (£29 billion) and takeaways (£22 billion) seeing the second and third highest m-commerce spend respectively. Health and Beauty products (£20 billion) and holidays also proved popular (£8 billion spent on international holidays and £8 billion spent on UK breaks).

We’re most likely to make a purchase while on our daily commute with the average adult who has made a purchase on their commute doing so 4.6 times in a month – rising to 5 times a month among frequent commuters1. And, we’re almost as happy purchasing when we’re travelling for leisure (3.1 times per month on average), and while out shopping (3.0 times on average).

Londoners were by far the biggest overall mobile spenders, accounting for well over half of all m-commerce spend among working age adults (£93 billion). The South East of England (£17 Billion) and West Midlands (£13 billion) complete the top three.

18–34-year-olds led the way among regular commuters both in number of purchases (5.8 per week) and total spend (£93 per week), however the over 55s appear increasingly comfortable making purchases on the move (2.5 times per week with a weekly average spend of £62).

Profile photo of Sarah Robinson (Mather)
Sarah Robinson

“This research paints a fascinating picture of people increasingly comfortable using their mobile device to spend while they are on the move” said Sarah Robinson, Head of Insight at Kinetic.  “While mobile purchasing outside the home is popular with young, urban professionals it really cuts across age, demographic and UK region. We’re at the point where we’re more likely to make an online purchase when we are out and about than we are when we are at home. And with people increasingly confident returning to work, retail, and outdoor leisure and events it’s a trend we are confident will continue. OOH is an important channel for influencing purchasing decisions and for brands the message is clear – the audience is out of home and confident spending on their mobile device.”


  • The research presented in this report uses data from two surveys, which were undertaken by Opinium Research and were in the field between 8th-12th December 2021.​
  • The first survey gauged the out-of-home (OOH) m-commerce behavior of 3,003 UK adults who own a smartphone, with weighting applied to provide nationally representative results.​
  • The second survey focused solely on frequent commuters – defined as those who commute using public transport at least three days per week. This survey saw a sample of 1,505 UK adults either in work or full-time study, who have a smartphone and frequently commute.​
  • This report focuses on commuters who use public transport. As such, when commuters are referred to, it is public transport commuters only.​
  • Analysis is presented for UK working age adults, defined as those aged between 18-64.

About Kinetic Worldwide
Kinetic uses intelligence, technology and creativity to help brands communicate with valuable audiences on the move. As the world’s largest planner and digital innovator in Out of Home advertising, we understand the customer’s physical journey better than anyone. Through the application of dynamic data and tech, we turn that journey into an Active Journey, driving people to take action in context.

Help us Help You by keeping the only Independent Voice for OOH.Subscribe to OOH Today

- Advertisement -

– Advertisement –