Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Dude, where's my 3G?

My monthly newsletter from UK web research specialists Hitwise (registration required) carries some stats on online shopping in the UK. In the first full week of December, the Shopping and Classifieds category hit 13.1% of total site traffic (an all-time high), and over half of that (7.2%) is accounted for by consumer electronics. Unsurprisingly, the top two search terms are mobile phones and digital cameras. Of the top ten names, four are either networks or mobile phone specialists (o2, Orange, Carphone Warehouse, The Link). It's curious that Vodafone's name doesn't crop up in the top ten, considering that it announced 3G products a full month earlier. I would have assumed that, if there were significant interest, consumers would have been flocking to the site to see the handset range, the broadest in the UK by far. This doesn't seem to be the case.

1. Comet 9.85%
2. Currys 8.58%
3. Dixons Online 5.20%
4. Tesco Electrical Warehouse 4.22%
5. O2 Shop 3.33%
6. Carphone Warehouse 3.24%
7. dabs.com 2.98%
8. The Orange Shop 2.41%
9. The Link 2.15%
10. Maplin Electronics 2.06%

Source: Hitwise

As a further aside, I visited an Orange shop a couple of days back to upgrade my handset to the lovely SPV C500. While waiting for my paperwork to be completed, I asked one of the shop staff if they were selling many 3G phones. He laughed a bit uncomfortably and said, "Not really." I later had to call technical support to resolve an email issue, and asked the technical support person if they were struggling with 3G support issues. He informed me that the Bristol call center has a dedicated team for 3G support, but that at that moment (Friday evening), there were only five people online, and things seemed pretty quiet.

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