5G is poised to power the next generation of internet connectivity and eCommerce. Faster and more reliable than anything that’s come before, 5G networks will enable people to communicate, consume entertainment and shop at unprecedented speeds.

The UK is one of the world’s leaders in the race to deploy 5G. The technology was first rolled out in the region by EE in May 2019, and several other providers have followed suit throughout the year.

Businesses in the e-commerce space, and indeed any retailer today, should be paying close attention to the arrival of 5G. While it wasn’t so long ago that payment options involved swiping a card and signing a piece of paper, or – heaven forbid! – handing over cash, the possibilities for closing a purchase nowadays are endless, from social media payments and digital wallets, right through to biometrics and digital currencies. In fact, the rise of new payment technologies is such that 60 percent of respondents said they believed their phones would replace their bank cards in as little as 5 years, according to FIS’ UK Consumer Behaviour & Payments Report 2019, released this month.

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5G and mobile commerce

Browsing and buying products online is quickly becoming the norm, especially for younger age groups. According to the FIS report, 36 percent of social media users had made at least one purchase through a social media platform, while nearly 50 percent of users in the Gen Z (18-21) age group had – astonishingly, 26 percent of this age group does so every day!

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The high-speed connectivity of 5G will only accelerate this trend, signaling the arrival of the next big retail evolution and presenting new challenges and opportunities for brands. 5G is set to power significant growth in mobile commerce, with Vodafone estimating that it will boost London’s economy by £30 billion by 2030.

That predicted growth is in part due to simple economics of speed – faster, cheaper internet on your mobile phone means more opportunities to shop. This even applies to big-ticket items, like cars, where online purchase hasn’t been practical up until now. Complex elements like credit checks and finance options which have previously slowed the payment journey could be processed much faster using 5G.

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