Survey: Europeans Not Doing 'mCommerce'

Research firm Forrester conducted a survey of European mobile users and found -- few surprises here -- that most respondents are not transacting on mobile devices. Here are the high-level datapoints:

  • A mere 2% of respondents reported purchasing products from their mobile phone and only 5% are actually interested in doing so.
  • Only 16% of online buyers have used their mobile phone for a shopping-related activity such as researching products, checking on the status of an order, or locating a nearby store to buy a specific product. 
  • Italian, Swedish, and UK online buyers have warmed up the most to mobile commerce.

The firm says, however, its earlier survey data show more engagment with these activities among smartphone users:

28% of European iPhone owners research products for purchase, while 13% of them report purchasing products via mobile at least monthly

Compare this to earlier Insight Express (US) data, which show much higher levels of smartphone activity in stores:

Screen shot 2010-07-07 at 11.19.50 AM

Source: Insight Express, June 2010 (n=1300 US mobile phone users)

In addition, recent Compete data show heavy smartphone usage to find local stores/businesses:

  • Nearly one in three smartphone owners has called or stopped into a local business after finding it using a local search application.
  • In Q1 alone, close to a third of Android and iPhone owners discovered at least two new businesses that they were not previously aware of as a result of using local search applications.

We discussed in the past that a major obstacle to so-called "mCommerce" is the need to enter 16 digit credit card numbers on a tiny screen. Even a smartphone screen is very awkward. Stored credit card numbers with trusted online etailers (e.g., Amazon) or payment platforms will fuel mobile-online purchases by removing the credit-card-entry fricition. 

Mobile "commerce" should not be confused with mobile "shopping" or use of phone for shopping purposes. Smartphone owners, as the IE data above suggest, are using their handsets extensively in stores and in the shopping process on the go.

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Two earlier US-based surveys show more interest in mCommerce among mobile users than the Forrester survey data: