Survey: Growing Minority Warming to ‘M-Commerce’

The concept of “mobile commerce” is something of a misnomer. What we’re really talking about is an Internet-based electronic transaction facilitated on a mobile device, either with a stored credit card or carrier billing. The thing that’s interesting and unique about buying things with mobile devices is the ability to execute a transaction anytime or anywhere. It’s more like distributed e-commerce than some new and unique animal “m-commerce.”

Electronics site and pollster Retrevo conducted another consumer survey (n=1,000+) showing minority but growing acceptance of buying things on a mobile device. 

Picture 1

Thirty seven percent of respondents said that if they didn’t need to enter credit card info to compete a transaction they more likely would be willing to buy on a mobile device. What this should immediately lead to is retailers and ecommerce sites seeking to store credit card information for users. Many sites, including Amazon, already do.

For the near term this fact may determine where someone who’s inclined to buy on a mobile device actually makes a purhase. Indeed, with millions of consumer credit cards on file Apple’s iTunes could become a major mobile payments player/platform if it pushed in that direction: “pay with iTunes.”

Overall in this space, trust will be a key issue for mobile consumers. 

Picture 4

The survey also found that “nearly 42% of those who have shopped with their phones said they have used apps to make purchases.” Clearly apps provide a better user experience and that may explain why mobile buying may be concentrated in apps and, in particular, on iPhones.

Just as with e-commerce several years ago, the new “medium” is untrusted and unfamiliar to many people. That will clearly change over time.

As mentioned above, what’s more interesting to me than mobile wallets or carrier billing is the idea that the gap between advertising and purchase behavior potentially narrows significantly with the ability to buy things via a mobile device. When I see the ad, hear the commercial, see the book or the article of clothing, I’m now able to “pull the trigger” much more quickly on my phone. I no longer have to wait to go home to get online.

Related: Apple Set to Launch Official Retail Store Application for iOS?