One in five consumers are happy to be approached via advertising on their mobile devices - as long as its relevant to them, suggests TNS's Mobile Life report.
"Our data suggests that mobile ads are no more intrusive than any other form of advertising - 23% would prefer not to be exposed to mobile ads, the same number as find all ads annoying, although SMS is seen as intrusive," said TNS UK's Head of Digital, Joe Webb.
Webb believes that UK companies are missing a huge opportunity to engage with mobile savvy consumers, who may even enjoy the novelty of mobile ads.
"Mobile in the UK offers both good reach and better click-throughs than fixed internet, further opportunities to deliver services and additional utility to consumers, as well as content through a personal channel of communication," he said.
"With digital generally and social in particular, brands may be trying too hard, but on mobile, brands aren't trying hard enough."
The rate of smartphone ownership in the UK is higher than any of the other G8 advanced nations and 11th highest in the world, behind only the Nordic nations and developed Asia. Half of UK mobile users have smartphones, against 45% in Germany, 40% in France and a global average of 28%.
Ownership has moved well beyond young early adopters - ownership amongst the 41-50 age group is 45%, only 5% points below the national average, according to TNS.
This is a huge market going untapped. Most companies making their first forays into online advertising are now behind the times, when the market is already shifting on to mobile.
Modern mobile users are also sophisticated, regularly using location-based services (67%), 61% have streamed video, 47% use mobile banking apps and 23% have tested augmented reality features - all key tools for marketers looking to build mobile apps to engage with their consumers.
British consumers are also using their mobiles as part of the 'path to purchase' more than most other countries. 32% of those surveyed said they use their mobiles in store, of those, half of them are comparing prices, 22% are conducting further research and 13% scan QR codes.
"Not only do mobile users have more features on their phones and make more use of them, but brands launching relevant apps will find millions of users ready to interact with them," said Webb.
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