Half of consumers are more likely to make purchases from a company that has a website optimized for mobile access.

Businesses can boost their appeal to consumers (and their online visibility) by launching a mobile website, a report from Brand Anywhere and Luth Research suggests. According to the report, more than half of consumers rely on their devices to research new purchases and are more likely to spend at a business with a mobile site.

Brand Anywhere found that despite the popularity of the mobile web, only 4.8 percent of businesses have websites designed specifically for mobile access. However, 22.8 percent of the top retail companies operate mobile-optimized websites that allow customers to convert from their handsets. Brand Anywhere and Luth used Alexa rankings to define “top retail websites.”

“A significant gap has emerged between the number of retailers who have mobile websites and the consumers who want to shop on mobile sites,” David Engel, partner at Brand Anywhere and chief architect of the Mobile Indexer, said in a release.

The number of missed conversion opportunities for brands that lack mobile websites will continue to grow as more people use mobile devices and become comfortable spending on their smartphones or tablets.

In the past, mobile marketing campaigns typically referred to display ads or branded apps, which can be difficult and expensive to produce and deploy. However, Brafton has reported that more businesses are turning to mobile SEO and search marketing as the use of smartphones and tablets has grown. Tablet users, specifically, have become especially active on the mobile web, with users spending 48 percent more time on the web daily.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.