Mobile Commerce On The Rise… Fast

Electronics marketplace Retrevo this week released a new study suggesting that mobile shoppers have doubled since February. According to the company, 20 per cent of US consumers have purchased something from a retailer using their cell phone.

While this isn’t a surprising trend, the fact that mobile commerce is growing so quickly is somewhat surprising. If nothing else, it would seem to indicate that the ever-increasing prevalence of smart phones is having a very noticeable impact.

I’m excited to see how this trend continues over the next few months. It’s hard to name an industry that isn’t affected at some level by the growth in smartphone technology, from fast food (Pizza Hut iPhone app, for example), to television content (Rogers On Demand Mobile). With the popular launch of the iPad, which has already drastically increased the amount of content I consume each day, I think there’s even further to go.

Interestingly, the company suggests that credit cards might be getting in the way of mobile commerce growing even faster than it already is, saying, “if you want more sales from mobile customers, make it easy for them to store their credit card info…” They link that to the question, “if retailers can’t get the credit card out of the way, how about the carriers?” In Canada, the cellphone carriers have put their weight behind Zoompass – a joint venture of the main telcos which is working on the evolution of the mobile wallet on a platform that works across the carriers .While this has also happened out in Japan, I’m not aware of any such move in the US.

Other statistics from the study:

Have you ever purchased something from a retailer using your cell phone?

  • 20% Said yes
  • 27% Said no, but that they would purchase something from their cell phone eventually
  • 53% Said no, and that they don’t ever plan to

What would make you more likely to purchase something from a retailer using your cell phone?

  • 24% Said, not having to provide their credit card info
  • 13% Said if their credit card was stored with the retailer
  • 16% Said they’re comfortable making purchase from their mobile phones now

What about you? Do you already make purchases via your mobile phone? If not, what would make you more likely to start?

(Disclosure: Rogers and Zoompass are both Thornley Fallis clients)

13 Responses toMobile Commerce On The Rise… Fast

  • Having worked on a few mobile campaigns in the last 6 months or so, Dave, I’m not surprised at these figures. Particularly with the ease-of-use that something like the iPhone makes it to shop online (and the iPad is going to make it even easier still).

    It dies reinforce the fact that companies need to revisit their websites and make sure that they’re at least offering a workable mobile experience. Of course, the ones that optimize for mobile will benefit even more…

  • I’m pretty excited about the future of mobile payment technologies. These survey results seem about right-on, and I think we could probably parallel adoption of this mode of payment to the early-ish days of online shopping. As confidence grows and technology improves, consumers will be more willing to use their mobile devices as payment methods.

    Zoompass here in Canada and, in the U.S., companies like Jack Dorsey’s Square ( are doing some pretty interesting things in the space.

  • Two things came to mind when I read this post. The first was everything that can be purchased through text message, be it jokes and ring tones, or charitable donations. It has become so easy to charge $10 to your account simply by sending a text. The second thing I thought of was all the purchases made in the App store. In both cases you can make fairly significant purchases without even needing your credit card.

  • The future of mobile shopping does look bright, and with the rising usage of iPhone apps designed for this trade it seems public confidence is growing. If clear, secure and easy to use applications are made available we will definitely see a rising trend in mobile commerce, and devices such as the iPad will only contribute to this.

    As stated here there are now major retailers jumping on this bandwagon, such as Pizza Hut, who are designing apps based around this buying functionality. These give the user confidence, as they know they are using a tried and tested piece of software that can’t be fraudulent.

    It will be interesting to see how apps for operating systems such as Android and the iPhone operating system bring mobile commerce into a new age, as these I believe offer the key to user security and trust, as opposed to browsing the web on a mobile.

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