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 Friday, June 13, 2008

Commerce over mobile devices such as cell phones is accelerating in the US, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Already, 9 million US mobile subscribers say they have used their mobile phone to pay for goods or services, and half of all data users (49%) say they expect to participate in mobile commerce in the future. Nielsen Mobile presented an overview of the opportunities in mobile commerce at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition.

Among the findings presented:

  • As of Q1 2008, 3.6 percent (9.2 million) of US mobile subscribers use their phone to pay for goods or services
  • Men are more likely than women to use their phone for commerce: 4.5 percent (4.9 million) of men and 3.0 percent (4.3 million) of women say they have made a purchase using their phone
  • Adults ages 25-34 are the most likely to have made a purchase using their phone: 5.4 percent (3 million) of adults ages 25-34 have made a purchase, compared to 3.6 percent of all mobile subscribers
  • 49 percent of mobile data users, those subscribers who have used one or more data features on their phone such as text messaging or the mobile internet within the past 30 days, say that it is likely they will conduct mobile commerce in the future

Mobile websites are one popular way consumers make purchases over the mobile phone. Of the 40 million active US users of the mobile web in April 2008, 5 million accessed mobile shopping and auction websites -- up 73% from April 2007, when just 2.9 million mobile users did so. Auction site eBay is the most popular shopping or auction destination on the mobile web, with 3.4 million unique visitors in April.

Purchasing items via text messaging is another growing form of mobile commerce. Some services allow consumers to send text messages to a phone number or mobile shortcode in order to be charged for goods or services directly on their mobile phone bills. Already, 6.5 million US mobile consumers say they've used text messaging to purchase an item.

"For many of the millions of consumers who are already shopping online or over landline phones, mobile commerce is an obvious and useful extension of that opportunity," said Nic Covey, director of insights at Nielsen Mobile who presented the data at the conference. "As more mobile commerce services become available and consumers develop a greater trust for phone-based transactions, we expect commerce to be an increasingly important part of the mobile experience next year and beyond."

The findings come from Nielsen Mobile's monthly Mobile Insights survey of more than 30,000 US wireless subscribers, with similar data available internationally.

Nielsen's study reveals that security is the number one concern among those mobile data users not yet participating in m-commerce:

  • 41 percent of data users who do not participate in mobile commerce say security is their biggest concern
  • 23 percent say they worry about being charged for the airtime
  • 21 percent say they don't trust that the transaction will be completed

"As with other forms of electronic commerce, US consumers need proof that mobile transactions will be a safe, affordable and efficient complement to other modes of shopping," said Covey. "As long as retailers continue to meet those expectations, more consumers will come to view mobile shopping as a compelling and viable option."

Source: Cellular News.