Shopping, yes. Buying? Maybe

Mobile commerce has been slow to catch on. According to Multichannel Merchant, four in five multichannel retailers have no m-commerce presence. But while consumer usage of mobile shopping is still relatively low, it is increasing, prompting firms such as Coda Research Consultancy to predict a doubling of m-commerce revenues in the US this year, to $2.4 billion.

There has also been a doubling in usage of mobile shopping, according to’s “Smartphone Shopping Behavior” survey. In April 2010, 35% of US Web-enabled mobile phone owners said they had participated in some form of mobile shopping in the past year, such as browsing or researching but not necessarily purchasing products. That was up from 17% who said the same in 2009. Still, only 13% actually made purchases via mobile, up from 10% last year.

Among all mobile users, there was a marked willingness to adopt more mobile shopping behaviors over the next two years, though a significant portion of the population indicated they would never be interested in such activities.


Consumers’ greater willingness to shop on the mobile channel rather than buy is supported by other research. Retrevo found in February 2010 that across all age groups Internet users were at least three times as likely to research or compare prices on their phones as they were to make a purchase.

In Q9 2009, four times as many Internet users surveyed by ATG said they researched or browsed via mobile at least weekly than bought.

Among the mobile buyers surveyed by, the top purchases were of digital content for their phones and consumer electronics, with both categories increasing over last year.


PriceGrabber found some of the barriers to further mobile buying were inherent to the medium, with respondents complaining that mobile screens were too small and saying that they simply preferred using a PC because it was easier. About one-third of respondents also said the mobile buying process takes too long, and one-quarter indicated transactions were too difficult to complete.

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