Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Mobile commerce and shopping experiencing phenomenal growth rates: report

Almost half – 48 percent – of consumers use their mobile devices to research or browse products and services, according to Oracle’s “Mobile Trends: Consumer Views of Mobile Shopping and Mobile Service Providers” report.

That figure is up from 37 percent in an ATG consumer benchmark survey in July 2010 and from 27 percent in an ATG consumer cross-channel survey in November 2009. The report reinforces the fact that mobile commerce is growing dramatically as consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to comparison-shop, get product ratings and search for coupons.

“The goal of the survey was to gather data points around mobile commerce and how consumers are using mobile commerce in their day-to-day product research as part of the browse-and-transact process,” said Kelly O’Neill, director of industry marketing at Oracle-ATG, Cambridge, MA. “The other side of the coin was asking what kinds of things they want to see from carriers and telecom providers to make the experience more beneficial and satisfactory to consumers.

“We’re seeing phenomenal growth rates in terms of what consumers are doing with their mobile devices while they are in a physical bricks-and-mortar store—searching for product information, ratings and reviews, or to competitive shop and compare prices,” she said.

“There is a debate whether mobile is more of a transactional channel or a browsing channel, but the number of consumers who have purchased something on a mobile device based on the survey results shows it can be all of those things.”

Oracle surveyed more than 1,000 mobile phone consumers in the United States to examine their use of mobile devices for shopping and commerce-related activitie, as well as what attributes they value most in their mobile service providers.

The report is a joint collaboration between Oracle and Art Technology Group Inc., or ATG, which Oracle acquired in January.

Mobile shopping boom
In addition to searching for products on their mobile phones, consumers are also making purchases, per Oracle.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents have made at least one purchase on their mobile phone, more than double the number in ATG’s 2009 survey.

Mobile technology is for consumers of all ages: All age groups are experiencing growth, per Oracle.

Mobile consumers ages 35 and older are nearly twice as likely to leverage a mobile device to research products and services, growing from 19-36 percent for users aged 55 and older and 23-44 percent for those 35-54 since 2009.

Sixty percent of users aged 18-34 use their mobile device to research products and services, up from 41 percent in 2009.

In addition, more than two times as many consumers ages 35 and older have made a purchase via a mobile phone since 2009, compared to a 74 percent increase for consumers ages 18-34.

“The mobile purchase stat is 29 percent said they have made at least one purchase using their mobile devices, and a much higher percentage for younger demographics,” Ms. O’Neill said. “If given the opportunity to do so, consumers will buy products via mobile.”

Mobile enhances the in-store shopping experience.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents have leveraged their mobile device for shopping activities while in a store, per Oracle.

Consumers mentioned that they used their device to compare products with competing brands, visit a store’s Web site to acquire more product information, research product reviews and look for coupons or discounts.

Price still a primary driver for mobile consumers.

When choosing a mobile service provider, 71 percent of respondents identify price and overall cost as an important factor, the most commonly cited reason.

This complements Oracle’s findings in its September 2010 report, “Opportunity Calling: The Future of Mobile Communications,” which found that 77 percent of respondents are willing to switch to another carrier with better pricing.

Mobile technology is altering the retail landscape, creating an array of opportunities for merchants and communications service providers, per Oracle.

Oracle’s report demonstrates the importance of streamlining mobile and retail services to enhance sales and the customer experience. This includes synchronizing billing and operating support systems, as well as ensuring optimal network functionality.

When ecommerce was first established, consumers had to get comfortable with transacting online. Now the comfort level is almost assumed on mobile devices, because it is pretty much the same process.

“If you look at the increase of retailers that have rolled out mobile sites and apps, that has increased as well—they are providing mobile commerce platforms and consumers are adopting it,” Ms. O’Neill said. “When we asked about what consumers are looking for from their wireless carriers, what comes out loud and clear is that younger segments are turning to the Web before the call center.

“Carriers have an opportunity, because that group will also spend more on mobile content and will upsell to the newer devices, which help the carriers to lower churn and drive revenue,” she said. “Carriers see the opportunity, but they are doubly challenged.”

Final Take
Oracle’s Thomas Kurian