51 Per Cent of UK Mobile Owners Using M-commerce

51 per cent of UK mobile owners aged 18 and over have used m-commerce, but only 8 per cent of retailers currently have a mobile presence, in the shape of a mobile site or app, where consumers can buy from them. Of those who don’t currently have this capability, however, 33 per cent expect to have it within the next 12 months, and 24 per cent within the next two years.

These are two of the key findings of a study carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). The first wave of the study, which was conducted in association with the Association for Interactive Media & Entertainment (AIME) and the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), questioned 141 professionals from the retail, advertising and IT sectors. The second wave, which was an IAB piece of work, asked consumers about their attitudes towards, and use of, m-commerce. For the purposes of the study, this was defined as using the mobile to research a purchase; to enhance the buying experience (checking stock availability etc.); to have a purchase charged to a mobile phone bill; or to buy from a mobile site or app using a credit or debit card.

Using these terms of reference, 51 per cent of mobile phone-owning UK consumers (22.95m people) have used m-commerce, breaking down as follows:

  • Research – 43 per cent/19.35m people (smartphone users: 75 per cent/33.75m)
  • Experience enhancement – 35 per cent/15.75m (smartphone users: 62 per cent/27.9m)
  • Charged a purchase to their phone bill – 37 per cent/16.65m (58 per cent/26.1m)
  • Bought off mobile and charged to a debit/credit card or PayPal – 27 per cent/12.5m (53 per cent/23.85m)

But note those smartphone figures. Smartphone users, in fact, are 63 per cent more likely to engage in m-commerce than non-smartphone users. Given that most new phones sold these days are smart to some extent, this is a stat that should get any brand’s attention, particularly in the retail sector.

The research also looked at the drivers of, and barriers to, m-commerce usage. When asked why they used their mobile for research or buying goods and services, 47 per cent said it was because it meant they could research or buy while they were out and about; 42 per cent because it was the easiest way of doing it; and 32 per cent because it was spontaneous or an impulsive decision.

Looking at the barriers to m-commerce adoption, 61 per cent said they would prefer to use a PC; 37 per cent that it was “too expensive” – a reference, no doubt, to the perceived data costs; 28 per cent said their mobile was not able to access the internet; and 16 per cent that it was “too complicated”.

A couple of final stats from the event. The average transaction value for purchases charged to a phone bill is £3.90, and for purchases made via the phone but charged to a credit/debit card or PayPal, £12.20.

All in all, another good piece of work by the IAB and its partners. I’ve been impressed recently by the research the organisation is turning out, and the way it presents the findings.