M-Commerce Ringing Up (Some) Sales - eMarketer
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M-Commerce Ringing Up (Some) Sales

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June 10, 2009

If there is going to be a mobile commerce revolution in the US, it’s not coming soon.

A 2008 Nielsen Mobile poll found that only 9.2 million US mobile subscribers purchased goods or services with their handset—a low figure when compared with a JPMorgan projection of 233 million total subscribers. Even lower next to eMarketer’s estimate of 270 million US mobile phone subscribers in 2008.

US Mobile Phone Subscribers and Penetration, 2008-2013 (millions and % of population)

In fact, an Internet Retailer survey found that only 7% of online retailers had an m-commerce site in late 2008.

Still, consumers are at least starting to grow comfortable with the idea of m-commerce.

According to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Billing Revolution, 71% of US adults felt that it was safe to make a purchase via their mobile phone.

Attitudes of US Consumers Toward the Safety of M-Commerce, April-May 2009 (% of respondents)

However, there is little consensus on what people are willing to buy on their “fairly safe” mobile devices.

In the Harris poll, 59% of respondents said they were willing to purchase pizza over a mobile phone; 58% said movie and event tickets, followed by hotel rooms, fast food, music and travel tickets.

Select Purchases that US Consumers Are Willing to Make via Mobile Phone, April-May 2009 (% of respondents)

On the other hand, PriceGrabber.com research found that the most popular mobile purchases were digital mobile content such as ringtones and music, followed by consumer electronics, computers and related equipment, books, apparel and jewelry.

Types of Products that US M-Commerce Users Have Purchased via Mobile Phone, March 2009 (% of respondents)

“There’s clearly a large US population of consumers open to the idea of making purchases via their cell phones,” said Andy Kleitsch, CEO of Billing Revolution.

True, but despite a rising level of comfort with mobile technology, the mobile commerce space still has a long way to grow.

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