October 14, 2010, 11:07 AM

Nearly half of mobile owners have made a purchase via phone

New survey shows consumers are getting comfortable with m-commerce.

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48% of mobile phone owners have made a purchase via the mobile web or a mobile app, according to a new survey by Lightspeed Research. What’s more, 48% of those who have made purchases prefer to use their credit cards for payment. While the majority of purchases were of digital products such as apps and music, the data show that consumers are getting comfortable transacting via their phones and are sharing sensitive payment information to complete purchases.

Regarding payment, in addition to the 48% who prefer credit cards when shopping on their mobile phones, 32% prefer using PayPal or a similar alternative payment mechanism, 17% prefer having a purchase charged directly to their phone bill, and 3% prefer redeeming a coupon or promotional code.

When it comes to shopping, the survey finds 78% of mobile consumers have purchased apps or games, 44% music for their phones, 39% ringtones, 31% other goods (including physical merchandise), 27% movie tickets, 22% take-out food, 16% travel items such as hotel stays or train tickets, and 15% movies and other video content for their phones.

“This research highlights that mobile phones are a viable way for retailers to reach customers. With almost half of respondents having already purchased this way, and many more researching store locations, comparing product prices and reading product reviews, the shopping experience is being completely transformed,” says Chris Urinyi, CEO of Lightspeed Research. “Retailers have a real opportunity to understand this change and reach customers and potential customers in a new way. There’s a revolution coming to the shopping experience, and it’s coming on the mobile phone.”

The survey was conducted from August 26-30 and is based on the responses of 3,905 U.S. mobile phone owners who participate in Lightspeed Research’s mobile phone panel.

In addition to making purchases, mobile consumers are actively participating in other shopping activities, the survey shows. 80% have used a mobile web site or an app to locate a nearby store, 70% to comparison shop, 65% to read customer reviews of products, and 56% to obtain more information on products on a retailer’s e-commerce or m-commerce site.

Of mobile phone users making purchases, 36% used an iPhone operating system, 19% a BlackBerry, 7% a device using the Windows Mobile operating system, and 13% other mobile devices.

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