Facebook is testing a shopping-oriented section of its app, as well as a new type of ad that makes it easier to browse.
But total annual spending via mobile remains less than the average spend via PC.
Mobile commerce may be maturing at a quicker rate than many experts have predicted, according to a report today from Adobe Scene7. 62% of consumers with web-connected mobile devices have purchased merchandise in a wide range of product categories using their mobile devices, the survey of 1,200 U.S. adult consumers who own these devices finds. Adobe notes in its report that the respondents' mobile commerce adoption rate is significantly higher than current estimates for the overall population because respondents to this survey all own devices such as smartphones that connect to the web.
While more consumers are becoming comfortable shopping via mobile device, the Adobe Scene7 report finds they still don’t spend close to the amount they do via PC. The greatest segment of mobile shoppers, 45%, spent $249 or less via mobile during the last 12 months, the report says. By comparison, the average annual online spend per shopper in 2010 was $1,139, according to an estimate from research firm eMarketer.
Still, 62% is a strong sign for the future of mobile commerce, even among a group skewed toward smartphone owners. Mobile revenues are poised for big growth, many experts predict. U.S. mobile commerce sales are expected to hit $5.3 billion in 2011, up 83% from a year ago, according to Barclays Capital.
Users of iPhones, men and adults age 30-49 purchase more frequently, buy goods in more categories and generally spend more time shopping than their peers, the report also finds. Users of iPhones overall also spend more—66% report spending $250 or more on mobile purchases in the last 12 months. BlackBerry users rank second with 58% spending $250 or more.
Movies, music and games, according to Adobe, are the most popular buys, purchased by 43% of mobile shoppers. That was trailed by clothing, shoes and jewelry at 30%; electronics at 28%; and books, magazines and newspapers at 26%.
“Shoppers are reaching for their mobile devices to research products and prices at the point of decision,” the report, “Mobile Shopper Insights for 2011,” notes. “Curious consumers are scanning QR codes on outdoor advertising and in magazine pages to get more information about a brand or product. As the impulse strikes them, many shoppers are simply moved to purchase directly from their devices.”
The report finds most mobile shoppers are content with their experience. 80% rate their mobile shopping experience above average. And shoppers are about equally happy with m-commerce sites versus mobile apps. However, for some shopping activities such as researching products and comparing prices, a majority of respondents favor using mobile sites over apps. Two-thirds of the respondents say they prefer sites to apps for accessing product and other shopping content.
So what mobile shopping features do consumers most appreciate? Easy checkout , named by 57% of shoppers, is deemed a top feature, followed by product and pricing information at 53%. Visual information, such as full-screen product view, ranks third with 42%, followed closely by simple keyword search at 40%.
For visual tools, 54% say 360-degree spin is the aid that has potential to prompt them to buy. Side-by-side product comparisons (49%) and interactive zoom and pan (44%) follow. Respondents rank these features ahead of simple keyword search and customer ratings and reviews.
Full-screen image zoom with “next/previous” touchscreen buttons to navigate forward and backward ties with full-screen horizontal scrolling with dragging or flicking images left and right as the top preferred ways to scan pages or screens. Both of these viewing experiences were selected by nearly half of the respondents.
Women are more discriminating than men when it comes to mobile shopping. For example, easy checkout was rated important by 61% of women compared with 51% of men, and 44% of women say search is important compared with 36% of men. Women also place more importance on advanced visual features than men. They, more so than men, deem color-swatching and alternative images—such as an image of a sweater on a model or of a coffee table in a room—as significant. Women also appreciate a good deal more than their male counterparts. 42% of women compared with 35% of men say online promotions and coupons are important factors in their mobile shopping experience.
Men, however, like their mobile video. The presence of mobile video is one area that was rated by more men than women (38% versus 28%) to increase the likelihood to buy.