Report: 15 percent of consumers use mobile to make purchases

Aug. 17, 2010

Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc. company, and Demandware Inc., a provider of on-demand ecommerce, have announced the findings of a new retail study examining consumer preferences and attitudes surrounding mobile shopping. The study found that consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to add depth and convenience to their in-store shopping experience; however, concerns around security and ease-of-use threaten progress.

The independent survey of 3,600 U.S. consumers reveals that 15 percent of consumers have used their mobile devices to make purchases. While nearly all (96.2 percent) of consumers surveyed own a mobile phone, just under half owned a smart phone, which are designed to deliver a more optimal shopping experience. The study revealed interesting trends surrounding how consumers are looking to their mobile device to support their in-store shopping experience. For example:

  • More than 60 percent believe that being able to use their mobile phone while shopping to verify product availability at a particular store location is important to very important.
  • Nearly a quarter of shoppers use their phone while in a store to competitively price shop an item.
  • Approximately 20 percent of consumers currently use their phones to create shopping lists or baskets, and slightly more than that number would be interested in a mobile app to help with shopping list or basket management for their favorite retailers.
  • Two thirds are interested in the possibility of using their mobile phone to scan and purchase items, thus enabling them to bypass checkout lines.
  • A quarter of shoppers believe that receiving specials/promotions (such as coupons) would be an important use for their mobile phone when shopping, although they were less enthusiastic about receiving advertising via their phones.

“Mobility is more than a channel, and as consumers begin to use mobile devices in all aspects of their shopping process, cross-channel will be essential for retailers to succeed,” said Jim Bengier, global retail industry executive for Sterling Commerce. “Today’s consumers are transforming the shopping experience with their mobile phones, and retailers who have not broken down their siloed channels will not be able to keep up.”

While the increasing consumer adoption rate of mobile devices has long been recognized by retailers, the survey findings suggest that offering mobile access to the brand is no longer just a ‘nice to have;’ it has become a necessity, said Jamus Driscoll, vice president of marketing at Demandware.

“The mandate for retailers is not only to create a mobile channel to give consumers more options, but also to find innovative ways to leverage mobile to influence consumer shopping and purchase behavior across all sales channels,” he said. 

Other findings of the survey continued to highlight consumers’ concerns around security and ease-of-use with mobile devices. Respondents cited the following concerns:

  • Internet non-connectivity (40 percent),
  • Difficulty with the small screen size (34 percent) and therefore difficulty in visualizing the products (31 percent),
  • Security issues (28 percent),
  • Slow interaction with the retailer website (22 percent), and
  • Difficulties in entering information due to a small keypad (21 percent).

Although security issues were mentioned as a concern by only 28 percent of respondents, the top solutions that would encourage more mobile phone purchases all deal with security.

  • Nearly half of consumers would like the option of using PayPal.
  • Nearly 40 percent would feel secure knowing that the mobile phone app would not store their credit card number.
  • A quarter of consumers would prefer that the mobile phone would only show a truncated credit card number (last 4 digits), and
  • About 20 percent would like to be prompted to enter their 3-digit credit card security number.

The entire survey findings will be shared at the 2010 Annual Summit on Sept. 28 in Dallas.

Topics: Consumer Behavior , Omnichannel / Multichannel , Technology

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