More than 70 million people in the U.S. will access the Internet from their mobile phones in 2009.
But despite the fact that companies like 1-800-FLOWERS, Amazon, Ralph Lauren and Sears have launched mobile commerce programs so they can be where their customers are, mobile commerce is still in its infancy, according to a report by New York-based eMarketer.
Web-enabled mobile phone users are much more likely to employ their devices to get weather forecasts, read news, find movie times and bank online than to buy products, according to the report. While consumers are willing to use their mobile phones to buy items such as pizza, movie tickets and travel reservations – and some have used their devices to purchase consumer electronics, computers and apparel – for the most part, mobile commerce is still a young sector.
Why? Mobile phone users surveyed say they would make more purchases if the process were not so cumbersome, products were easier to find and their devices supported secure credit card transactions.
Many consumers are reluctant or afraid about sharing personal information and credit-card numbers via their mobile devices, so brands are cautious about offering bigger-ticket items through mobile.
Further, since there are so many different types of mobile phones and mobile operating systems, many retailers find it’s not easy or worth the effort to create shopping applications for each mobile platform.