Shoppers Still Hesitant to Buy Via Mobile

September 4, 2009
Almost everyone has a mobile phone.

Mobile Web usage is spiking, as more and more Americans adopt smartphones like Blackberrys and the iPhone. And retailers are starting to produce no-paper mobile coupons.

But mobile e-commerce remains nascent, as both businesses and consumers have demonstrated a hesitancy to adopt the medium as a shopping vehicle, according to a new report issued by eMarketer.

Privacy and security concerns are a major obstacle both in the minds of consumers and retailer advertisers, says the report. Many people are still fearful about sharing personal information and credit-card numbers via their mobile devices—and that fact makes brands cautious about offering bigger-ticket items through mobile.

Plus, for brands wishing to sell product on mobile devices, execution is challenging in the current marketplace. For example, since there are so many different phones and different mobile operating systems, it’s not easy—and not always worth the effort—for retailers to create shopping applications for ever single mobile platform.

As as result, “most retailers are either standing on the sidelines or in the midst of planning their mobile commerce strategy,” said eMarketer senior analyst Jeffrey Grau, who authored the new report, Mobile Commerce: Ahead of Its Time.

According to the report, consumers are showing an early willingness to make smaller mobile purchases, such as buying movie tickets and ordering pizza. But currently, “mobile commerce is still immature,” reads the report. “Web-enabled mobile phone users are much more likely to employ their devices to get weather forecasts, read news, find movie times and bank online than to buy products.”

Posted in: Industry News