Two-thirds of companies in the FTSE 100 have websites that are difficult to use on smartphones, a study shows.

The research demonstrates that UK blue-chips are failing to keep pace with mobile internet adoption.

Most corporate websites are designed for large computer screens and fast internet connections – even though half the population browses the web through smartphones such as the iPhone.

“FTSE 100 companies are not mobile-ready and are wasting millions of pounds on internet advertising by sending visitors to websites that do not work as users expect them to,” said Jonathan Bass of Incentivated, a mobile marketing company that carried out the research for the Financial Times.

Smartphone adoption is growing so rapidly that Google predicts more than half of all web searches will be carried out via mobiles within three years, compared with about a quarter now.

Despite the trend, 69 companies in the FTSE 100 had done nothing to “optimise” their websites for mobiles, the study found. Visitors to these sites found pages packed with tiny text and hard to navigate, or took too long to load.

“The lack of investment and inconsistencies among FTSE business should worry all boardrooms,” Mr Bass said. “Companies with a mobile-optimised website generate more revenues and customer engagement.”

While 22 of the 100 companies had taken some steps to cater for mobile users, just eight scored “moderately well” based on Incentivated’s criteria and just one scored highly: Marks and Spencer, the retailer.

Among the lowest-scoring companies were Rolls-Royce and International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways and Iberia.

Each website was scored for mobile readiness based on three criteria: whether a mobile search was automatically directed to a mobile site; whether the page size was small enough to load quickly on a 2.5G or 3G network; and whether the site was customised to work across multiple mobile platforms such as Android, Windows and BlackBerry.

Sam Roddick, an executive at the consultancy Deloitte Digital, said big companies must move fast to adapt their websites for mobile or risk losing business to more nimble start-ups.

“The population’s behaviour is changing,” he said. “If you want to engage with the population you have to recognise that.”

Even the most tech-savvy companies have struggled with the shift to mobile. Facebook last year paid $730m to acquire Instagram, a fast-growing, mobile-only photo-sharing site that was widely seen as a threat to its business.

Domino’s Pizza, one of the pioneers of online fast-food sales in the UK, reported in September that purchases from mobile phones were growing at almost 50 per cent a year and accounted for nearly a fifth of its online sales.

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