October 14, 2010, 1:09 PM

Payment via mobile is rising in popularity

A recent report shows rising interest in purchasing via mobile phones.

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Consumers may be most likely to use their mobile phones to check store locations and pricing, but they’re showing an increasing interest in using their phones to make a purchase, says Hung LeHong, research vice president for retail at technology research and advisory firm Gartner Inc. 

LeHong, during a presentation at this week’s Mobile Commerce Forum in Chicago, noted that purchasing via mobile phones came in at the bottom of a list of things consumers said they were likely to do this fall and next spring with their mobile phones.

The Gartner study found that 17% of U.S. consumers said they were likely to make a purchase from a mobile app or mobile commerce site, and that 16% said they were likely to make an in-store purchase through a mobile phone.

These figures compared to 42% of consumers who said they were likely to use their mobile phone to check a store location, 34% who said they would check product prices while in a store, and 31% who said they’d receive promotional messages on their phones.

But though the percentages were smallest for making purchases via mobile phones, those percentages showed the strongest growth over prior surveys, LeHong says.

“Year over year, mobile payments and commerce is the fastest growing,” he says.

Retailers designing mobile sites and apps, he adds, should focus on making sure they support multichannel shopping, such as checking store locations, because that’s something shoppers use their mobile phones for today. But for longer-term planning, he adds, they should also support an easy way to complete a purchase.

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