A growing number of the UK’s biggest businesses in the technology and telecoms industries have embraced mobile optimised websites as they attempt to appeal to an audience of customers for whom using smartphones and tablets to browse the web and shop is second nature.

The latest report from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) found that just over three quarters of the nation’s most significant brands in this market have now created mobile-specific sites or alternatively embraces responsive e-commerce site design so that pages automatically adapt based on the device which is being used to view them.

The study also revealed the proportion of firms that have adopted both a mobile site and a dedicated smartphone app, with 62 per cent of the 50 businesses covered taking this route to cover all the bases.

A slim section of six per cent of the companies covered have yet to integrate any form of mobile website or app into their portfolios meaning that they are reliant solely on a desktop presence to attract business. While mobile devices are being endowed with larger screens and faster hardware, it is still far from ideal to stick with a desktop e-commerce site when customers are beginning to expect a mobile site as a bare minimum.

Almost two fifths of the firms covered by the study are adapting their PPC campaigns in order to cater to a mobile audience with this figure likely to rise as mobile search becomes a bigger factor in driving traffic and securing conversions. A slightly higher proportion are carrying out mobile SEO that enables smartphone users to click through and place an automatic call to the company in question, thus enhancing the engagement levels.

The popularity of creating dedicated smartphone apps actually pushes above and beyond mobile site adoption, with 80 per cent of the brands harnessing this type of technology. It seems that the Android operating system is trumping iOS at the moment, with 72 per cent picking Google’s platform as their development target as opposed to the 58 per cent who opt for Apple.

Given that Android is by far and away the most common smartphone OS in the modern market this makes sense. In fact the eagerness to create apps altogether is something that can lead to improved engagement with customers compared with mobile sites alone, even if the latter tend to receive more traffic.

A study from Localytics revealed that apps which have push notifications enabled can boost e-commerce engagement by up to 278 per cent, which is surely a sign that businesses should consider embracing this as a marketing tactic alongside mobile search optimisation.

Fighting for mobile customers is becoming more complex and critical as a growing proportion of the population makes a smartphone or tablet their first port of call for web browsing. While more money is spent via desktops and laptops, site design must reflect the changing trends to be future-proof.