August 17, 2010, 1:55 PM

15% of consumers have made purchases on their phones, new survey says

And nearly 25% have used their devices to comparison shop in stores.

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15% of consumers have used their mobile devices to make purchases, and nearly 25% have used their devices to compare prices while in a store, according to a new study of 3,611 U.S. adults by research, consulting and technology firm SmartRevenue.

The survey also found that 96.2% of respondents own a mobile phone and just under half own a smartphone, which render richer mobile commerce shopping experiences.

The study, conducted on behalf of e-commerce and m-commerce technology vendors Sterling Commerce and Demandware Inc., also found that:



• More than 60% of consumers believe being able to use their mobile phones while shopping to verify product availability at a particular store location is important to very important.

• 20% currently use their phones to create shopping lists or baskets, and slightly more than that would be interested in a mobile app to help with shopping list or basket management for their favorite retailers.

• 67% are interested in the possibility of using their mobile phones to scan and purchase items, thus enabling them to bypass checkout lines.

• 25% believe receiving specials and promotions, such as coupons, would be an important use for their mobile phones when shopping.

“Mobility is more than a channel, and as consumers begin to use mobile devices in all aspects of their shopping process, cross-channel will be essential for retailers to succeed,” says Jim Bengier, global retail industry executive at Sterling Commerce. “Today’s consumers are transforming the shopping experience with their mobile phones, and retailers who have not broken down their siloed channels will not be able to keep up.”

The survey also found some concerns that may hinder the adoption of m-commerce among some consumers. The concerns include:

  • Difficulty with the small screen size (34%) and therefore difficulty in visualizing the products (31%).
  • Security issues (28%).
  • Slow performance of an m-commerce site (22%).
  • Difficulties entering information because of small keypad (21%).

Although security issues were mentioned as a concern by only 28% of respondents, the top services that would encourage more mobile phone purchases all to a degree address security issues, the survey says:

  • Nearly half of consumers would like the option of using PayPal.
  • Nearly 40 percent would feel secure knowing that a mobile phone app would not store their credit card number.
  • A quarter of consumers would prefer that the mobile phone would show only a truncated credit card number (last 4 digits).
  • About 20 percent would like to be prompted to enter their 3-digit credit card security numbers.

But whatever the concerns, m-commerce has grown significantly in the last few years, and research firms predict billions more in sales in the years ahead.

“The survey findings suggest that offering mobile access to the brand is no longer just a ‘nice to have’; it has become a necessity,” says Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing at Demandware. “The mandate for retailers is not only to create a mobile channel to give consumers more options, but also to find innovative ways to leverage mobile to influence consumer shopping and purchase behavior across all sales channels.”


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