March 22, 2011, 9:45 AM

29% of online consumers have made a purchase via their mobile device

48% have used their devices to browse and research products, Oracle/ATG study finds.

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29% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase of digital or physical merchandise using their mobile devices, finds a just-released mobile commerce survey of 1,054 U.S. adults who use the Internet conducted in December 2010. This compares with 23% in July 2010 and 13% in November 2009, according to technology provider Oracle. Oracle in January acquired ATG, which, among other technology-related services, builds m-commerce sites.

The “Oracle/ATG Mobile Trends” survey breaks down mobile purchases by age and concludes that mobile shopping is more prevalent among younger consumers, but growing faster among older age groups.

40% of online consumers ages 18-34 have made a mobile purchase. That figure is 27% for ages 35-54 and 17% for age 55 and older.

“Everyone says it’s really about the younger 18-34 year old segment,” says Kelly O’Neill, product strategy director, Oracle retail. “But while that segment still has the highest percentage, the growth rate of the 35-54 year old segment is much faster than the other two segments—it almost tripled in less than two years. This isn’t just about the 18-34 year old segment—mobile commerce is really becoming a mainstream activity.”

An even greater number of consumers are researching products on the web than making purchases, the survey finds, showing that mobile sites and apps hold potential for boosting multichannel sales. 48% of U.S. adults have browsed or researched products on their mobile devices, the survey says. That compares with 37% in July 2010 and 27% in November 2009.

60% of adults ages 18-34 have browsed or researched products; 44% for ages 35-54 and 36% for age 55 and older.

“Retailers have to think about their competition differently,” O’Neill says. “Their competition could be standing in their very aisle. Consumers are looking and checking, whether it’s Amazon or a direct competitor; retailers can’t keep competitors outside of their stores. Retailers need to understand their value proposition, whether it’s all about price or giving consumers other reasons to stay loyal. If they don’t provide the information consumers are looking for, like ratings and reviews and additional product information, then consumers will get it elsewhere.”

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