Its been said that the last few years were meant to be the year of the mobile but the latest data from Google shows that 2011 really is the year of the mobile.

Google reported a 220 per cent spike in shopping searches had come from smartphones. It also reported a 29 per cent increase in online shopping-related searches year over year. 

One quarter of all Christmas shopping-related Google searches this year now come from mobile devices. This growth is driven in part from a boom in Australian smartphone sales: in a recent study with IPSOS Research, Google found that Australia has the second highest smartphone penetration in the world. By the end of this year, more than 50 per cent. of Australian adults will own a smartphone – just in time for Christmas.

But even as consumers embrace the mobile revolution, most businesses haven’t even noticed the change; Google estimates that 80 per cent of advertisers don’t have mobile-friendly websites, which means they’re invisible to people trying to find them on mobile.

Ross McDonald, Google Australia head of retail, said retailers should ‘mobilise’ to meet the exponential growth.

“If you asked a business owner whether she’d ignore every fourth customer to walk in her shop this Christmas season, the answer would certainly be no,” he said.

“But with 25 per cent of Christmas shopping-related queries coming in on mobile, not having a mobile website is basically the same thing. The missed potential is huge.”

The study found that one in five Australian smartphone owners Google and IPSOS surveyed have used their mobile phone to make a purchase, 49 per cent had used their smartphone to research and then call local businesses, while 45 per cent visit a local business they’ve found using their smartphone.

But according to McDonald, it’s not too late take on the opportunity before Christmas. 

“The Christmas shopping season is a marathon that ends in a sprint,” he said. 

“People make last minute decisions, which means we see consumers searching for gifts right up to Christmas Eve. The good news is it’s not too late to be early.”