Mobile Purchase Increasing

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Mobile internet users around the world are increasingly using their phones to research products and make purchases, according to a study by OnDevice Research, London, in nine countries on behalf of trade organization MEF, the global community for mobile content and commerce.

We learned from the World Advertising Research Center that a total of 8,530 people from MEF’s specialist mobile survey panel were surveyed from Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Qatar, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US. Overall, the number of participants looking for information about, or actually buying, goods and services via wireless devices reached at least 72% in each of the markets analyzed.

In the US, 41% of respondents had paid for something via mobile in the last six months, 38% actually purchasing goods through the network provider’s storefront. Another 11% completed such transactions from a retailer’s m-commerce portal, and 9% had leveraged social media properties for this reason.

Figures hit 91% in the UK, where 82% of those inteviewed also logged on to the mobile internet every day, and 34% now used the fixed-line web less than was the case 18 months ago.

Some 84% of respondents in Singapore had employed wireless handsets to research or buy goods, and 74% accessed the mobile internet every day. Currently, 40% of acquisitions made in this way are for digital offerings, but 15% of relevant adults had bought electronics products in the same fashion.

Mobile banking is also gaining ground: 32% of the sample in Singapore regularly check their balance on a wireless device, and 18% pay bills.

WARC also noted from other areas:

  • Indonesia – 63% have sent airtime remittances – purchases of prepaid mobile credits often serving as an informal type of money transfer – on a phone. Among Indonesian shoppers who had bought something on a handset in the last six months, 19% used a retailer’s mobile site, and 41% did so via their network operator.
  • Brazil – 79% of people engaged in activities related to m-commerce. Over 20% of contributors would also be willing to spend more than GBP200 on mobile purchases, doubling the 10% yielded by India, in second place on this measure. And 41% of Brazilians claimed to use the fixed-line web less often than 18 months ago, whereas 84% log on from a phone on a daily basis, and 37% connect for at least five hours per day.

Although 72% of individuals in Qatar and 67% of their Egyptian counterparts had looked to the mobile internet for commercial purposes, purchase levels lagged considerably behind these totals.

WARC quoted Andrew Bud, MEF’s global chairman, as saying that the global research demonstrates that consumers worldwide are embracing mobile as a key access point for content and commerce. He said that it also illustrates that mobile is an essential platform for companies wishing to drive consumer engagement and monetize their goods, services and digital products.

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